Chemical mimicry and host specificity in the butterfly Maculinea rebeli, a social parasite of Myrmica ant colonies

@article{Akino1999ChemicalMA,
  title={Chemical mimicry and host specificity in the butterfly Maculinea rebeli, a social parasite of Myrmica ant colonies},
  author={Toshiharu Akino and Jennifer Jane Knapp and J. A. Thomas and G. W. Elmes},
  journal={Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences},
  year={1999},
  volume={266},
  pages={1419 - 1426}
}
  • T. Akino, J. Knapp, +1 author G. Elmes
  • Published 22 July 1999
  • Biology
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
Although it has always been assumed that chemical mimicry and camouflage play a major role in the penetration of ant societies by social parasites, this paper provides the first direct evidence for such a mechanism between the larvae of the parasitic butterfly Maculinea rebeli and its ant host Myrmica schencki. In the wild, freshly moulted fourth–instar caterpillars, which have no previous contact with ants, appear to be recognized as ant larvae by foraging Myrmica workers, which return them to… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Host-Specific Myrmecophily and Myrmecophagy in the Tropical Coccinellid Diomus thoracicus in French Guiana
TLDR
This new case of obligate myrmecophily in the coccinellid Diomus thoracicus not only specifically involves a highly invasive ant species, but also provides insights into the evolution of myrm Cecophily and myRMecophagy in cocCinellids.
Chemical Deception and Structural Adaptation in Microdon (Diptera, Syrphidae, Microdontinae), a Genus of Hoverflies Parasitic on Social Insects
TLDR
The results of a preliminary adoption analysis confirm that Microdon larvae of at least some species can readily be accepted by different species of ants, and a combination of protective chemical and structural features represents a successful key innovation by Microdon species, and one that may facilitate host switching.
Chemical disguise as particular caste of host ants in the ant inquiline parasite Niphanda fusca (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)
TLDR
It is suggested that N. fusca caterpillars exploit worker care by matching their cuticular profile to that of the host males, since the males are fed by trophallaxis with workers in their natal nests for approximately ten months.
Changes in Chemical Signature and Host Specificity from Larval Retrieval to Full Social Integration in the Myrmecophilous Butterfly Maculinea rebeli
TLDR
The ability to synthesize or suppress additional compounds once adopted explains the pattern of mortalities found among fully integrated caterpillars in Myrmica colonies of different species and physiological states.
Chemical strategies to deal with ants: a review of mimicry, camouflage, propaganda, and phytomimesis by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and other arthropods
TLDR
Chemical tactics by ant social parasites, including myrmecophiles, often relate to ant nestmate recognition and alarm communication, and appropriate evaluation methods are necessary to evaluate the ant responses induced by the parasites to reveal the underlying mimetic strategy.
Acoustical mimicry in a predatory social parasite of ants
TLDR
It is concluded that chemical mimicry enables Maculinea larvae to be accepted as colony members by worker ants, but that caterpillars and pupae of both predatory and cuckoo butterflies employ acoustical mimicry of queen ant calls to elevate their status towards the highest attainable position within their host's social hierarchy.
Host specificity revisited: New data on Myrmica host ants of the lycaenid butterfly Maculinea rebeli
TLDR
Data on six populations from Poland and Austria is presented, including the first record of Myrmica specioides as a host, together with published data from other central European countries, which severely questions the inference that M. schencki is the exclusive host of M. rebeli.
Do Maculinea rebeli caterpillars provide vestigial mutualistic benefits to ants when living as social parasites inside Myrmica ant nests?
TLDR
The results of laboratory experiments confirmed the importance of sucrose in the diet of Myrmica, and showed that M. rebeli caterpillars which eat ant brood to supplement their normal trophallactic feeding by workers develop more quickly, but have the same survival and pupal weights – as caterpillar that are fed solely by worker ants.
Larval niche selection and evening exposure enhance adoption of a predacious social parasite, Maculineaarion (large blue butterfly), by Myrmica ants
TLDR
Larvae of the predatory Maculinea arion increased by >100-fold their probability of being discovered and adopted by Myrmica spp.
Development of parasitic Maculinea teleius (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) larvae in laboratory nests of four Myrmica ant host species
TLDR
Results indicate that Myrmica species coming from the same site differ in their ability to adopt and rear M. teleius larvae but there was no obvious adaptation of this butterfly species to one of the host ant species.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 34 REFERENCES
Larvae of Maculinea rebeli, a large‐blue butterfly, and their Myrmica host ants: wild adoption and behaviour in ant‐nests
TLDR
It is hypothesized that Maculinea rebeli caterpillars mimic the touch pheromones of ant worker-larvae, which would explain the inability of ants to recognize caterpillar before touching them, their immediate adoption by any Myrmica species after discovery, host specificity inside wild ant-nests, the absence of queen-effect and the intimate attention of host workers.
Polymorphic growth in larvae of the butterfly Maculinea rebeli, a social parasite of Myrmica ant colonies
TLDR
It is suggested that a balanced polymorphism has evolved in M. rebeli growth rates, representing the most efficient way of exploiting the limited, yet steady, daily supply of food available to cuckoo–feeding parasites of long–lived ant societies.
Chemical mimicry in an obligate predator of carpenter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
TLDR
Several highly unusual monomethyl- and dimethyl-(Z)-4-alkenes, found both in ants and flies, were identified.
Extreme host specificity by Microdon mutabilis (Diptera: Syrphiae), a social parasite of ants
TLDR
The results indicate extreme local adaptation by an M. mutabilis population not simply to one species of host, but to an individual host population and possibly to local strains or family groups within an F. lemani population.
Biosynthesis and chemical mimicry of cuticular hydrocarbons from the obligate predator, Microdon albicomatus Novak (Diptera: Syrphidae) and its ant prey, Myrmica incompleta Provancher (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
TLDR
A radiolabelling experiment using 1 14C-acetate with the Microdon larvae indicated that the fly biosynthesizes its hydrocarbons rather than procuring them from its prey, indicating that the evolutionary pathway to chemical mimicry by these termito philes would seem to be relatively straightforward.
Butterfly Exploitation of an Ant-Plant Mutualism: Adding Insult to Herbivory
TLDR
It is shown that some ant-associated caterpillars not only feed on plant tissues but also feed from extrafloral nectaries on the hostplant, thus exploiting the basis of the mutualism between plants and ants.
Is host plant choice by a clytrine leaf beetle mediated through interactions with the ant Crematogaster lineolata?
TLDR
In the grasslands of northeastern Kansas, adult populations of Anomoea flavokansiensis, an oligophagous leaf beetle, specialize on Illinois bundleflower even though other reported host species commonly occur and are simultaneously available.
Comparative study of the pheromones emitted by workers of the ants Myrmica rubra and Myrmica scabrinodis
TLDR
The volatile components of the Dufour gland secretion are similar in both species and have the short-term effect of encouraging workers to forage, but the less volatile part is quite different in the two species and workers recognize their own from the other species secretion when the volatile components have evaporated away.
Larval recognition by workers of the ant Myrmica
TLDR
Workers can distinguish diapause-developed from worker-biased brood in spring, not because of their size, their growth rate, or their queen-potentiality, but because they emit a special signal from the ventral surface.
The larval ant-organs of Thisbe irenea (Lepidoptera: Riodinidae) and their effects upon attending ants
TLDR
An ‘enticement and binding’ process, involving the concerted use of the larval organs, is proposed as the behavioural mechanism that 7.
...
1
2
3
4
...