Scab formation and wound healing of plant tissue by soldier aphid

Mayako Kutsukake, Harunobu Shibao, Keigo Uematsu, Takema Fukatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In the social aphid Nipponaphis monzeni, a unique gall-repairing behaviour has been known: when a hole is made on the gall, many soldier nymphs discharge body fluid on the breach, which promptly solidifies and plugs the hole. Here, we experimentally investigated the subsequent fate of repaired galls and their inhabitants. Irrespective of natural repair by soldier nymphs or artificial repair with adhesive, repaired galls survived significantly better than non-repaired galls. Within a month after repair, the plant tissue around the hole proliferated and sealed up the hole. Many soldier nymphs were localized at the hole area and extermination of inhabiting aphids by insecticides aborted the gall regeneration, indicating that the gall regeneration requires inhabiting aphids, wherein soldier nymphs are likely to play a major role. This study provides an unprecedented case of scab formation and wound healing, which occurs at an animal-plant interface: scab derived from insect body fluid promptly plugs damaged plant tissue and subsequently the insects actively stimulate regeneration of the plant tissue, whereby the compromised plant tissue recovers. We suggest that the novel system may have evolved in the aphid lineage through enhancement and recruitment of the pre-existing capabilities of haemolymph coagulation and gall formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1563
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1662
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 7
Externally publishedYes


  • Gall repair and regeneration
  • Social aphid
  • Soldier nymph
  • Wound sealing and healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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