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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Interaction between Mutualisms: Ant-Tended Butterflies Exploit Enemy-Free Space Provided by Ant-Treehopper Associations

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Kaminski, Lucas A. [1] ; Freitas, Andre V. L. [2] ; Oliveira, Paulo S. [2]
Total Authors: 3
[1] Univ Estadual Campinas, Inst Biol, Programa Posgrad Ecol, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[2] Univ Estadual Campinas, Inst Biol, Dept Biol Anim, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: American Naturalist; v. 176, n. 3, p. 322-334, SEP 2010.
Web of Science Citations: 43

Although mutualisms have been intensively investigated, demonstration of indirect effects between co-occurring mutualistic systems is rare. For instance, the ecological consequences of co-occurrence of ant-tended insects on a plant have never been examined for survival effects on either trophobiont species. Here, we assess the selective pressures mediating co-occurrence of a facultative ant-tended butterfly (Parrhasius polibetes) with ant-tended treehoppers (Guayaquila xiphias) on Schefflera vinosa shrubs. We evaluated host plant selection and caterpillar survival in P. polibetes in the presence and absence of ant-treehopper associations. Paired trials revealed that butterflies preferably oviposit on branches hosting ant-tended treehoppers when they had a choice between those and branches without this interaction. Presence of ant-tended treehoppers on a branch reduced the abundance of P. polibetes' natural enemies and improved caterpillar survival in both premyrmecophylic and ant-tended phases. Thus ant-tended treehoppers create an enemy-free space on foliage that butterflies exploit to protect larval offspring. These findings connect two widely documented ant-trophobiont mutualisms and highlight the importance of considering multiple interactions for a proper understanding of ant-plant-herbivore systems. Detection of other ant-based mutualisms on oviposition to improve offspring survival may have represented an important evolutionary step in the process of host plant selection in facultative myrmecophilous butterflies. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 00/01484-1 - Butterfilies as environmental indicators: monitoring with Nymphalidae (Eurytelinae and Satyrinae)
Grantee:André Victor Lucci Freitas
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 98/05101-8 - Lepidoptera of the State of São Paulo: diversity, distribution, resources, and use for analysis and environmental monitoring
Grantee:Keith Spalding Brown Junior
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants