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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.)

Two ways to be a myrmecophilous butterfly: natural history and comparative immature-stage morphology of two species of Theope (Lepidoptera: Riodinidae)

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Kaminski, Lucas A. [1] ; Mota, Luisa L. [1] ; Freitas, Andre V. L. [1] ; Moreira, Gilson R. P. [2]
Total Authors: 4
[1] Univ Estadual Campinas, Inst Biol, Dept Biol Anim, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[2] Univ Fed Rio Grande do Sul, Inst Biociencias, Dept Zool, BR-91501970 Porto Alegre, RS - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society; v. 108, n. 4, p. 844-870, APR 2013.
Web of Science Citations: 15

Symbiotic interactions between butterfly larvae and ants, termed myrmecophily, require a range of behavioural and morphological adaptations (ant-organs). Here, using light and scanning electron microscopy, we describe the complete life cycle of two species of Theope (Lepidoptera: Riodinidae) that have contrasting ways of life. Theope thestias larvae are facultatively tended by several ant species, whereas Theope pieridoides have obligate symbiotic interactions with Azteca ants that inhabit a myrmecophytic tree. Morphological differences associated with their different degrees of intimacy with tending ants are visible from hatching. In T.thestias, the untended first-instar larva has elongated bifurcated setae and a few tiny perforated cupola organs (PCOs), whereas in T.pieridoides, the ant-tended first instar has short dendritic setae, larger and more numerous PCOs, and functional tentacle nectary organs (TNOs). Throughout ontogeny, T.pieridoides always shows more conspicuous ant-organs than T.thestias, with the exception of balloon setae, which are larger and more numerous in T.thestias. In addition, mature T.pieridoides larvae have an anterior set of ant-organs, including a new type, here described and termed anterior glandular openings (AGOs). Based on the behavioural responses of ants in contact with these structures, a new interpretation for the mechanism whereby Theope larvae can manipulate the behaviour of their tending ants is proposed. Until now, three ecological syndromes can be defined among Theope species: (1) oligophagous larvae with facultative myrmecophily; (2) monophagous larvae with obligate myrmecophily; and (3) polyphagous larvae with obligate myrmecophily. These results suggest that differences in the degree of specificity in the antplant interactions may have an important role in the evolution of host-plant use in Theope.(c) 2013 The Linnean Society of London (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/50225-3 - Natural history, phylogeny and conservation of Neotropical Lepidoptera
Grantee:André Victor Lucci Freitas
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants