Honeydew

Thomas E. Mittler

University of California, Berkeley

Angela E. Douglas

University of York, United Kingdom

Honeydew is a sugar-rich liquid released from the anus of some phloem sap-feeding insects of the order Homoptera. It consists principally of the residue of ingested phloem sap after digestion and assimilation in the insect gut, but it also contains waste products of insect metabolism eliminated via the gut. Honeydew deposited onto plant or other surfaces is an important source of energy-rich food for other animals, including some flies, parasitoids, ants, and microorganisms, and is used as a foraging cue by insect predators and parasitoids of some homopterans. Ants also collect the honeydew directly as it is being released from the producing insect, a behavior known as ant attendance.

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