Article

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

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
Annual Review of Entomology (Impact Factor: 13.02). 02/2002; 47(1):733-71. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145257
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    • "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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    • "Lycaenids have long been known for their interactions with mutualistic ants, and many species have developed mechanisms to recognize and select specific ant partners (Fiedler 1991; Pierce et al. 2002). In this context, our results (in addition to Kaminski et al. 2010) reveal that lycaenid oviposition mediated by ant presence may be more common than previously thought, even in lycaenids with a weak ant association , such as A. strophius. "
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    • "The association of ants with honeydew-producing Hemiptera (aphids, scale insects, membracids, etc.), or with nectarproducing larvae of lycaenid butterflies, is a well-studied phenomenon termed trophobiosis. Trophobioses are complex, 806 S. A. Schneider et al. typically mutualistic, relationships in which ants provide protection and other benefits to a partner species and procure a reliable food reward from this partner in exchange for their attendance (reviewed by Way, 1963; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990; Gullan, 1997; Gullan & Kosztarab, 1997; Delabie, 2001; Pierce et al., 2002). The only ant–hemipteran trophobiotic relationship in which honeydew appears not to be a 'currency' of exchange involves ants of the genus Melissotarsus Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Melissotarsini) and certain armoured scale insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae). "
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