The ecology an evolution of ant association in the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera)

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
Annual Review of Entomology (Impact Factor: 13.73). 02/2002; 47(1):733-71. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145257
Source: PubMed


The estimated 6000 species of Lycaenidae account for about one third of all Papilionoidea. The majority of lycaenids have associations with ants that can be facultative or obligate and range from mutualism to parasitism. Lycaenid larvae and pupae employ complex chemical and acoustical signals to manipulate ants. Cost/benefit analyses have demonstrated multiple trade-offs involved in myrmecophily. Both demographic and phylogenetic evidence indicate that ant association has shaped the evolution of obligately associated groups. Parasitism typically arises from mutualism with ants, and entomophagous species are disproportionately common in the Lycaenidae compared with other Lepidoptera. Obligate associations are more common in the Southern Hemisphere, in part because highly ant-associated lineages make up a larger proportion of the fauna in these regions. Further research on phylogeny and natural history, particularly of the Neotropical fauna, will be necessary to understand the role ant association has played in the evolution of the Lycaenidae.

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Available from: David J Lohman, Oct 07, 2015
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    • "Many ant colonies are also inhabited by inquilines (i.e., social parasites) like Lycaenid caterpillars that compete with or eat host brood (Pierce et al. 2002). Similarly, avian brood parasites compete with or kill host offspring while exploiting adult hosts (Hauber 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies of inter-individual variation in behavior have focused primarily on its environmental causation and adaptive consequences, but commonly ignore questions regarding its proximate development. Here, we explore the effects of the late natal environment on the development of individual- and colony-level personalities in the acorn ant, Temnothorax longispinosus. This species is commonly parasitized by the slave-making ant Protomognathus americanus, and we predicted that rearing T. longispinosus with its brood parasite would alter the behavior of individual ants and the collective, colony-level personality of groups. Using a split-brood design (where brood from a single source colony is split equally across different rearing environments), we reared T. longispinosus in four conditions: their maternal queen, an unrelated conspecific queen, a slave-making queen, and a slave-making worker. Although individual aggressiveness and exploratory behavior did not differ between ants raised by their maternal queen or slave-making ants, ants raised by an unrelated conspecific queen showed increased aggressiveness 60 days after emergence. Further, groups of ants raised by slave-making workers were faster at locating new nest sites, a collective behavior, relative to groups reared by their maternal queen. Lastly, colonies containing T. longispinosus and their maternal queen had the greatest brood production at 60 days. Our results demonstrate that differences in individuals’ rearing environment can influence both individual- and colony-level personality in multi-level societies.
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 03/2015; 69(3):395-405. DOI:10.1007/s00265-014-1852-2 · 2.35 Impact Factor
    • "These interactions were facilitated by a number of adaptations, including specialized exocrine glands, an unusually thick cuticle, a retractable head, and various stridulatory organs used to communicate with ants and conspecifics (Hinton 1951; Malicky 1970; DeVries 1991a; Travassos and Pierce 2000). The great majority of lycaenid–ant interactions involve ants associating apparently mutualistically with caterpillars feeding on plants, but a smaller proportion—less than 5% of the species with described life histories—associate parasitically with ants and are aphytophagous, feeding either on Hemiptera attended by ants or on the ants themselves (Pierce et al. 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Of the four most diverse insect orders, Lepidoptera contains remarkably few predatory and parasitic species. While species with these habits have evolved multiple times in moths and butterflies, they have rarely been associated with diversification. The wholly aphytophagous subfamily Miletinae (Lycaenidae) is an exception, consisting of nearly 140 species distributed primarily throughout the Old World tropics and subtropics. Most miletines eat Hemiptera, although some consume ant brood or are fed by ant trophallaxis. A well-resolved phylogeny inferred using 4,915 bp from seven markers sampled from representatives of all genera and nearly half the described species was used to examine the biogeography and evolution of biotic associations in this group. Biogeographic analyses indicate that Miletinae likely diverged from an African ancestor near the start of the Eocene, and four lineages dispersed between Africa and Asia. Phylogenetic constraint in prey selection is apparent at two levels: related miletine species are more likely to feed on related Hemiptera, and most miletine genera are associated with ants from a single subfamily. These results suggest that adaptations for host ant location by ovipositing female miletines may have been retained from phytophagous ancestors that associated with ants mutualistically.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Evolution 01/2015; 69(3). DOI:10.1111/evo.12599 · 4.61 Impact Factor
    • "Although 8 of the 17 genera consist of species that are phytophagous and mutualistically associated with ants, the remaining 9 genera contain at least one species that is 'aphytophagous' (i.e. feeding obligately on substances other than plants during at least some portion of the lifetime) and parasitically associated with ants (Pierce et al., 2002, A. Heath, personal "
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    ABSTRACT: The Aphnaeinae (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) are a largely African subfamily of 278 described species that exhibit extraordinary life-history variation. The larvae of these butterflies typically form mutualistic associations with ants, and feed on a wide variety of plants, including 23 families in 19 orders. However, at least one species in each of 9 of the 17 genera is aphytophagous, parasitically feeding on the eggs, brood or regurgitations of ants. This diversity in diet and type of symbiotic association makes the phylogenetic relations of the Aphnaeinae of particular interest. A phylogenetic hypothesis for the Aphnaeinae was inferred from 4.4 kb covering the mitochondrial marker COI and five nuclear markers (wg, H3, CAD, GAPDH and EF1α) for each of 79 ingroup taxa representing 15 of the 17 currently recognized genera, as well as three outgroup taxa. Maximum Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses all support Heath's systematic revision of the clade based on morphological characters. Ancestral range inference suggests an African origin for the subfamily with a single dispersal into Asia. The common ancestor of the aphnaeines likely associated with myrmicine ants in the genus Crematogaster and plants of the order Fabales.
    Systematic Entomology 10/2014; 40(1). DOI:10.1111/syen.12098 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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