Enhancement of Symbioses Between Butterfly Caterpillars and Ants by Vibrational Communication

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Jun 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4959, pp. 1104-1106
DOI: 10.1126/science.248.4959.1104


Butterfly caterpillars produce calls that appear to play a role in maintaining symbiotic associations with ants. A survey of butterfly species from South and Central America, North America, Europe, Thailand, and Australia suggests that the ability for caterpillars to call has evolved independently at least three times, and that calling may be ubiquitous among ant-associated species. Because ants use substrate-borne sound in their communication systems, this study points to the possibility that the calls of one insect species have evolved to attract other, unrelated species.

Stay Connected to Science