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Induced indirect defence in a lycaenidant association: the regulation of a resource

Summary: Induced indirect defence in a lycaenid­ant
association: the regulation of a resource
in a mutualism
Anurag A. Agrawal1*
and James A. Fordyce
Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street,Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3B2
Section of Evolution and Ecology, and Center for Population Biology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Indirect defences involve the protection of a host organism by a mutualistic partner. Threat of predation
to the host organism may induce the production of rewards and/or signals that attract the mutualistic
partner. In laboratory and ¢eld experiments we show that threatened lycaenid butter£y larvae (Plebejus
acmon) produce more nectar rewards from their gland and were tended by protective ants twice as much
as controls. Ant attendance did not a¡ect the leaf consumption or feeding behaviour of larvae in the
absence of predators. Inducible nectar production and indirect defence in this system may be a
mechanism by which larvae provide rewards for services when they are needed the most. Such a system
may stabilize the mutualistic association between lycaenid larvae and ants by preventing exploitation by
either partner.
Keywords: mutualism; ant^caterpillar association; Plebejus acmon; symbiosis; tending;
tritrophic interactions


Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University
Fordyce, James - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology