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|Type:||Artigo de periódico|
|Title:||The Role Of Tending Ants In Host Plant Selection And Egg Parasitism Of Two Facultative Myrmecophilous Butterflies|
|Abstract:||Ovipositing adult females of myrmecophilous lycaenids are expected to select plants based on ant presence in order to maximize the survivorship of immature stages. Usually, larvae feed ants with honey-like solutions and, in turn, ants ward off parasitoids. Nonetheless, a rarely investigated approach is whether ant partners can also extend their protective behavior towards lycaenids eggs. Here, we investigated the ant-related oviposition pattern of Allosmaitia strophius and Rekoa marius; then, we compared egg parasitism according to the presence of ants. Lycaenid oviposition and egg parasitism (in percent) were experimentally compared in ant-present and ant-excluded treatments. The study plant, Heteropterys byrsonimifolia, is an extrafloral nectaried shrub which supports several ant species. We sampled 280 eggs, of which 39.65 % belonged to A. strophius and 60.35 % to R. marius. Both lycaenids eggs were significantly more abundant on branches with ants, especially those with Camponotus crassus and Camponotus blandus, two ant species known to attend to lycaenids. A. strophius and R. marius parasitism was 4.5- and 2.4-fold higher, respectively, in ant-present treatments, but the results were not statistically significant. Our study shows that ant-mediated host plant selection in lycaenids might be much more widespread than previously thought, and not restricted to obligate myrmecophilous species. Tending ants may be inefficient bodyguards of lycaenid eggs, because unlike larvae which release sugared liquids, eggs do not offer obvious rewards to ants. Ants can ward off parasitoids of larvae, as observed elsewhere, but our findings show that positive ant–lycaenid interactions are conditional and depend on immature ontogeny.|
|Appears in Collections:||Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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