Parasitoids as Selective Agents in the Symbiosis Between Lycaenid Butterfly Larvae and Ants

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Science  13 Mar 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4487, pp. 1185-1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4487.1185


The larvae of Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) secrete substances that attract ants. In two field sites in Colorado, tending ants protect caterpillars of G. lygdamus from attack by braconid and tachinid parasitoids. This protection may have been an important feature in the evolution of the association between lycaenid larvae and ants.

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