Comparison of acoustical signals in Maculinea butterfly caterpillars and their obligate host Myrmica ants

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (Impact Factor: 2.26). 06/1993; 49(3):229 - 238. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.1993.tb00902.x


An acoustical comparison between calls of parasitic butterfly caterpillars and their host ants is presented for the first time. Overall, caterpillar calls were found to be similar to ant calls, even though these organisms produce them by different means. However, a comparison of Maculinea caterpillars with those of Myrmica ants produced no evidence suggesting fine level convergence of caterpillar calls upon those of their species specific host ants. Factors mediating the species specific nature of the Maculinea-Myrmica system are discussed, and it is suggested that phylogenetic analysis is needed for future work.

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Available from: Philip J Devries
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    • "The communication in ants is mainly based on chemical cues (Hölldobler and Wilson, 1990), but the acoustic channel is also used, thus parasites are able to manipulate their hosts by mimicking sound signals as well. After the seminal study by Devries et al. (1993), Barbero et al., (2009a) reported the first case of acoustic mimicry in an ant social parasite. Authors demonstrated that Ma. alcon (cruciata ecotype) larvae and pupae are able to mimic the sounds produced by Myrmica schencki queens, thus eliciting benevolent responses in worker ants, and, consequently , obtaining a high status in the host colony hierarchy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Myrmica ants have been model species for studies in a variety of disciplines, including insect physiology, chemical communication, ant social dynamics, ant population, community ecology, and ant interactions with other organisms. Species belonging to the genus Myrmica can be found in virtually every habitat within the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and their biology and systematics have been thoroughly studied. These ants serve as hosts to highly diverse parasitic organisms from socially parasitic butterfly caterpillars to microbes, and many Myrmica species even evolved into parasitizing species of their own genus. These parasites have various impacts both on the individuals and on the social structure of their hosts, ranging from morphological malformations to reduction in colony fitness. A comprehensive review of the parasitic organisms supported by Myrmica and the effects of these organisms on individuals and on whole ant colonies has not yet been compiled. Here, we provide a review of the interactions of these organisms with Myrmica ants by discussing host and parasite functional, behavioral or physiological adaptations. In addition, for all “symbiont groups” of Myrmica ants described in this paper, we examine the present limitations of the knowledge at present of their impact on individuals and host colony fitness. In conclusion, we argue that Myrmica ants serve as remarkable resource for the evolution of a wide variety of associated organisms. M. Witek and F. Barbero equally contributed to the manuscript.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Insectes Sociaux
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    • "The structure is present in males and gynes of Pogonomyrmex (Markl et al., 1977), Myrmica (Barbero et al., 2009), and Crematogaster (Ruiz et al., 2006), and it is probably also present in reproductives of other stridulating species. Vibrational characteristics of stridulation have been examined in Leptogenys (Chiu et al., 2011), Ectatomma and Pachycondyla (Pavan et al., 1997), Myrmica (DeVries and Cocroft, 1993), and Aphaenogaster (Schillinger and Baroni Urbani, 1985). Ferreira et al. (2010) document distinct differences in stridulation patterns among six to nine cryptic species in the Pachycondyla apicalis species complex. "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Insectes Sociaux
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    • "Use of substrate-borne vibrations for communicative goals is well known in arthropods. It has been described in sap-sucking bugs when signalling presence, attraction, alarm or defence between group members (Cocroft 1996; Cocroft and Rodriguez 2005; Hartbauer 2010) and also in termites (Evans et al. 2007), sawflies (Carne 1962) and caterpillars (Claridge 1985; DeVries et al. 1993; Cocroft and Rodriguez 2005; Yack et al. 2001; Fletcher et al. 2006). Social hymenoptera use vibration of substrates as signals, particularly for recruiting foragers (ants: Roces et al. 1993; Roces and Tautz 2001; dancing honey bees: Michelsen et al. 1986; Kirchner 1993; Tautz et al. 1996; Nieh and Tautz 2000; Hrncir et al. 2006), whereas the individual insects' pounding, beating or knocking on a substrate are utilized as the sources of mechanical energy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Giant honeybees (Apis dorsata) nest in the open and have developed a wide array of strategies for colony defence, including the Mexican wave-like shimmering behaviour. In this collective response, the colony members perform upward flipping of their abdomens in coordinated cascades across the nest surface. The time–space properties of these emergent waves are response patterns which have become of adaptive significance for repelling enemies in the visual domain. We report for the first time that the mechanical impulse patterns provoked by these social waves and measured by laser Doppler vibrometry generate vibrations at the central comb of the nest at the basic (=‘natural’) frequency of 2.156 ± 0.042 Hz which is more than double the average repetition rate of the driving shimmering waves. Analysis of the Fourier spectra of the comb vibrations under quiescence and arousal conditions provoked by mass flight activity and shimmering waves gives rise to the proposal of two possible models for the compound physical system of the bee nest: According to the elastic oscillatory plate model, the comb vibrations deliver supra-threshold cues preferentially to those colony members positioned close to the comb. The mechanical pendulum model predicts that the comb vibrations are sensed by the members of the bee curtain in general, enabling mechanoreceptive signalling across the nest, also through the comb itself. The findings show that weak and stochastic forces, such as general quiescence or diffuse mass flight activity, cause a harmonic frequency spectrum of the comb, driving the comb as an elastic plate. However, shimmering waves provide sufficiently strong forces to move the nest as a mechanical pendulum. This vibratory behaviour may support the colony-intrinsic information hypothesis herein that the mechanical vibrations of the comb provoked by shimmering do have the potential to facilitate immediate communication of the momentary defensive state of the honeybee nest to the majority of its members. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00114-013-1056-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · The Science of Nature
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