|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [Dutch]|
|Phengaris rebeli (formerly Maculinea rebeli), common name Mountain Alcon Blue, is a species of butterfly in the Lycaenidae family. |
It is found in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland.
It is threatened by habitat loss.
Phengaris rebeli engage in reproduction through brood parasitism. Larval P. rebeli are capable of reproducing the scent emitted by red ant larvae, among which they are raised and fed.
Research has shown they also imitate the noises emitted by queen ants, which can command additional attention and favor, such as being rescued first if the nest is attacked.
In one experiment, queen ants attacked the impostor larvae, only for the workers to intervene on the behalf of the larvae, removing them to safety while fighting off the queens.
P. rebeli pupae prey upon their broodmates, while producing sugar-rich secretions which worker ants imbibe. In one experiment, P. rebeli specimens which consumed ant larvae developed more quickly than those who did not. However, despite their nourishing offering to the community, they invariably imposed a net loss in the survival rates of workers and broodmates, demonstrating that the species is parasitic (rather than mutualistic) at all stages in its host colony.
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