Acoustics, context and function of vibrational signalling in a butterfly-ant mutualism

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Animal Behaviour (Impact Factor: 3.14). 08/2000; 60(1):13-26. DOI: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1364
Source: PubMed


Juveniles of the Australian common imperial blue butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras, produce substrate-borne vibrational signals in the form of two kinds of pupal calls and three larval calls. Pupae stridulate in the presence of conspecific larvae, when attended by an ant guard, and as a reaction against perturbation. Using pupal pairs in which one member was experimentally muted, pupal calls were shown to be important in ant attraction and the maintenance of an ant guard. A pupa may use calls to regulate levels of its attendant ants and to signal its potential value in these mutualistic interactions. Therefore substrate-borne vibrations play a significant role in the communication between J. evagoras and its attendant ants and pupal calls appear to be more than just signals acting as a predator deterrent. Similarly, caterpillars make more sound when attended by Iridomyrmex anceps, suggesting that larval calls may be important in mediating ant symbioses. One larval call has the same mean dominant frequency, pulse rate, bandwidth and pulse length as the primary signal of a pupa, suggesting a similarity in function.

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Available from: Naomi E Pierce, Oct 03, 2015
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    • "The DNO secrete nutritious droplets for ants, and the TOs are assumed to secrete volatile substances that attract and alert ants [8], [21]. In addition to these ant-associated organs, many lycaenids also stridulate to communicate with their attendant ants [22], [23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation via interspecific communication is an important for the maintenance of many mutualisms. However, mechanisms underlying the evolution of partner communication are poorly understood for many mutualisms. Here we show, in an ant-lycaenid butterfly mutualism, that attendant ants selectively learn to recognize and interact cooperatively with a partner. Workers of the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus learn to associate cuticular hydrocarbons of mutualistic Narathura japonica caterpillars with food rewards and, as a result, are more likely to tend the caterpillars. However, the workers do not learn to associate the cuticular hydrocarbons of caterpillars of a non-ant-associated lycaenid, Lycaena phlaeas, with artificial food rewards. Chemical analysis revealed cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of the mutualistic caterpillars were complex compared with those of non-ant-associated caterpillars. Our results suggest that partner-recognition based on partner-specific chemical signals and cognitive abilities of workers are important mechanisms underlying the evolution and maintenance of mutualism with ants.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86054. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0086054 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Myrmica sabuleti, M. scabrinodis, and M. schencki have differences between worker and queen stridulations, and some nest parasite caterpillars can mimic queen stridulations more than those of workers and thereby receive increased attention from workers (Barbero et al., 2009). In a similar ant-parasite system, Travassos and Pierce (2000) specify that they use the terms ''sounds'' and ''calls'' for simplicity when describing substrate-borne vibrations. Species differ in sound level and distance at which stridulations are perceptible (Markl, 1965; Spangler, 1967). "
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    ABSTRACT: Vibrations and sounds, collectively called vibroacoustics, play significant roles in intracolony communication in termites, social wasps, ants, and social bees. Modalities of vibroacoustic signal production include stridulation, gross body movements, wing movements, high-frequency muscle contractions without wing movements, and scraping mandibles or tapping body parts on resonant substrates. Vibroacoustic signals are perceived primarily via Johnston’s organs in the antennae and subgenual organs in the legs. Substrate vibrations predominate as vibroacoustic modalities, with only honey bees having been shown to be able to hear airborne sound. Vibroacoustic messages include alarm, recruitment, colony activation, larval provisioning cues, and food resource assessment. This review describes the modalities and their behavioral contexts rather than electrophysiological aspects, therefore placing emphasis on the adaptive roles of vibroacoustic communication. Although much vibroacoustics research has been done, numerous opportunities exist for continuations and new directions in vibroacoustics research.
    Insectes Sociaux 11/2013; 60(4). DOI:10.1007/s00040-013-0311-9 · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    • "However, Schönrogge et al. (2004) found that under conditions of food stress caterpillar survival was significantly lower in nonhost than host colonies and proposed that the marked decline in the similarity index when caterpillars were held alone for 4 days, accompanied with the synthesis of compounds that mimic their preferred host, M. schencki, would identify them as nest intruders and explain why M. rebeli larvae were eliminated. It has been recognised for some time that lycaenid caterpillars and pupae produce sounds and that these auditory signals may play a role in the recruitment of attendant ants in mutualistic interactions (see DeVries 1990; Travassos and Pierce 2000; Pierce et al. 2002). Barbero et al. (2009) reported that queens of M. schencki produce specific auditory signals that result in the higher expression of benevolent worker behaviours, particularly guarding, than those produced by conspecific workers They also demonstrated that the larvae and pupae of M. rebeli produce auditory signals very similar to those of the ant queen. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chemical mimicry is an essential part of certain interspecific interactions, where the outcome for both species may depend on the degree to which the original signals are mimicked. In this review, we discuss a number of specific cases relating to pollination and obtaining nutrient resources that we believe exemplify recent advances in our understand- ing of chemical mimicry. Subsequently, we suggest avenues for future ecological and chemical research that should allow us to gain further insight into the evolution of chemical mimicry.
    Canadian Journal of Zoology 07/2010; 88(7):725–752. DOI:10.1139/Z10-040 · 1.30 Impact Factor
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