Queen ants make distinctive sounds that are mimicked by a butterfly social parasite
Barbero, Francesca; Thomas, Jeremy A.; Bonelli, Simona; Balletto, Emilio; Schonrogge, Karsten. 2009 Queen ants make distinctive sounds that are mimicked by a butterfly social parasite. Science, 373. 782-785. 10.1126/science.1163583Full text not available from this repository.
Ants dominate terrestrial ecosystems through living in complex societies whose organisation is maintained via sophisticated communication systems. The role of acoustics in information exchange may be underestimated. We show that Myrmica schencki queens generate distinctive sounds which elicit increased benevolent responses from workers, reinforcing their supreme social status. Although fiercely defended by workers, ant societies are infiltrated by specialist insects which exploit their resources. Sounds produced by pupae and larvae of the parasitic butterfly Maculinea rebeli mimic those of queen ants more closely than workers, enabling them to achieve high status within ant societies. We conclude that acoustical mimicry provides another route for infiltration for ~10,000 species of social parasites that cheat ant societies.
|Item Type:||Publication - Article|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1126/science.1163583|
|Programmes:||CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity > BD01.3 Population and community processes|
|Additional Keywords:||acoustic communication; social insects, ants, social paraistes, myrmecophiles, social ranking|
|NORA Subject Terms:||Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
|Date made live:||27 Feb 2009 10:50|
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