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|Title:||Natural history of an ant–plant–butterfly interaction in a Neotropical savanna|
Kaminski, Lucas A.
Freitas, Andre V. L.
Oliveira, Paulo S.
|Abstract:||Non-myrmecophilous lepidopteran larvae using plants bearing ant attractants such as extrafloral nectaries are good models for studying morphological and behavioural mechanisms against ant predation. Udranomia spitzi (Hesperiidae) is a butterfly whose larvae feed on leaves of Ouratea spectabilis (Ochnaceae), a plant with extrafloral nectaries. We described the early stages of U. spitzi, and used field observations and experiments to investigate the defensive strategies of caterpillars against predatory ants. Larvae pass through five instars and pupation occurs inside larval leaf shelters. Ant-exclusion experiments revealed that the presence of ants did not affect significantly caterpillar survival. Predation experiments showed that vulnerability to ant predation decreased with increase in larval size. The present study showed that predatory ants are not as relevant as demonstrated for other systems, and also illustrates how observational data and field experiments can contribute to a better understanding of the biology and ecology of a species of interest|
|Editor:||Taylor & Francis|
|Appears in Collections:||IB - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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