The nests of ant colonies contain mature ants, their brood, and stored food - valuable commodities to a predator. Those nests, therefore, are aggressively defended by colony members, who employ a complex, finely tuned system to discriminate between nestmates and strangers. Nonetheless, numerous ant-sized organisms called myrmecophiles (“ant lovers”) thrive within the ant society and perhaps exploit its resources, if only for a short part of their lives. The interactions that have evolved between myrmecophiles and ants range from loose associations to utter dependency for one or both partners. Some 10 000 arthropod species live as ant parasites and have evolved to intercept and exploit their host’s communication code. Among the most fascinating of those adaptations is the acoustic strategy that parasitic Maculinea butterflies use to deceive ants into letting them enter and live undisturbed in a host colony.

Butterflies that trick ants with sound

BARBERO, Francesca;CASACCI, LUCA PIETRO
2015

Abstract

The nests of ant colonies contain mature ants, their brood, and stored food - valuable commodities to a predator. Those nests, therefore, are aggressively defended by colony members, who employ a complex, finely tuned system to discriminate between nestmates and strangers. Nonetheless, numerous ant-sized organisms called myrmecophiles (“ant lovers”) thrive within the ant society and perhaps exploit its resources, if only for a short part of their lives. The interactions that have evolved between myrmecophiles and ants range from loose associations to utter dependency for one or both partners. Some 10 000 arthropod species live as ant parasites and have evolved to intercept and exploit their host’s communication code. Among the most fascinating of those adaptations is the acoustic strategy that parasitic Maculinea butterflies use to deceive ants into letting them enter and live undisturbed in a host colony.
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http://www.physicstoday.org
butterflies; ants; acoustics
Barbero F.; Casacci L.P.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/155800
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