The Effect of Host-Plant Quality on the Survival of Larvae and Oviposition by Adults of an Ant-Tended Lycaenid Butterfly, Jalmenus-Evagoras

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1. Juveniles of the Australian lycaenid butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras (Donovan), secrete to ants a solution of sugars and amino acids, primarily serine. The attendant ants protect the larvae and pupae from parasites and predators.2. The effect of caterpillar nutrition on the defence provided by ants was investigated. Potted food plants of Acacia decurrens were either given water containing nitrogenous fertilizer or were given water alone. Fertilized plants had a higher nitrogen content than unfertilized plants.3. Fifth instar larvae of J.evagoras feeding on fertilized plants attracted a larger ant guard than those feeding on unfertilized plants. In the absence of caterpillars, ants were not differentially attracted to fertilized and unfertilized plants.4. In the presence of ants, over a 10-day period, larvae on fertilized plants survived better than larvae on unfertilized plants. In the absence of ants larvae survived equally on fertilized and unfertilized plants. It is concluded that larvae on fertilized plants attracted a larger ant guard, and thereby survived better, than larvae on unfertilized plants.5. Adult females of J.evagoras preferred to lay egg batches on fertiizedd rather than unfertilized plants, but they did not lay larger egg batches.


Et426Times Cited:46Cited References Count:37

Last updated on 12/22/2015