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Title (Primary) Development of parasitic Maculinea teleius (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) larvae in laboratory nests of four Myrmica ant host species
Author Witek, M.; Skórka, P.; Śliwińska, E.B.; Nowicki, P.; Moroń, D.; Settele, J.; Woyciechowski, M.;
Journal Insectes Sociaux
Year 2011
Department BZF;
Volume 58
Issue 3
Language englisch;
Keywords Myrmecophily; Larval development; Lycaenidae; Social parasitism; Host–parasite relationship; Myrmecophily; Larval development; Lycaenidae; Social parasitism; Host–parasite relationship
Abstract

Maculinea butterflies are social parasites of Myrmica ants. Methods to study the strength of host ant specificity in the MaculineaMyrmica association include research on chemical and acoustic mimicry as well as experiments on ant adoption and rearing behaviour of Maculinea larvae. Here we present results of laboratory experiments on adoption, survival, development and integration of M. teleius larvae within the nests of different Myrmica host species, with the objective of quantifying the degree of specialization of this Maculinea species. In the laboratory, a total of 94 nests of four Myrmica species: M. scabrinodis, M. rubra, M. ruginodis and M. rugulosa were used. Nests of M. rubra and M. rugulosa adopted M. teleius larvae more readily and quickly than M. ruginodis colonies. No significant differences were found in the survival rates of M. teleius larvae reared by different ant species. Early larval growth of M. teleius larvae differed slightly among nests of four Myrmica host species. Larvae reared by colonies of M. rugulosa which were the heaviest at the beginning of larval development had the lowest mean larval body mass after 18 weeks compared to those reared by other Myrmica species. None of the M. teleius larvae was carried by M. scabrinodis or M. rubra workers after ant nests were destroyed, which suggests a lack of integration with host colonies. Results indicate that Myrmica species coming from the same site differ in their ability to adopt and rear M. teleius larvae but there was no obvious adaptation of this butterfly species to one of the host ant species. This may explain why, under natural conditions, all four ants can be used as hosts of this butterfly species. Slight advantages of particular Myrmica species as hosts at certain points in butterfly larval development can be explained by the ant species biology and colony structure rather than by specialization of M. teleius.

ID 11248
Persistent UFZ Identifier http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=11248
Witek, M., Skórka, P., Śliwińska, E.B., Nowicki, P., Moroń, D., Settele, J., Woyciechowski, M. (2011):
Development of parasitic Maculinea teleius (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) larvae in laboratory nests of four Myrmica ant host species
Insect. Soc. 58 (3), 403 - 411