|Copyright: Grzegorz Wieczorek (red45)
|Date Taken: 2004-08|
|Camera: Olympus 740UZ|
|Exposure: f/3.7, 1/800 seconds|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2005-03-20 6:41|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Another butterfly from Crimea. This one looks heavy damaged. I think this could be one from Lycaenidae family. Those butterflies have got fascinating life cycle closely realated with ants. Butterflies aren't violent predators? I don't think so.|
Butterflies that need ants
While not all the Lycaenidae butterflies need ants, certain members of this family can only complete their life cycle in association with particular ant species. This is termed a myrmecophilous (love of ants) relationship.
Many members of the Lycaenidae are commonly referred to as the coppers and blues because these are the predominant colours in the family. The Lycaenidae includes a number of species that are listed as rare or vulnerable in the South African Red Data book on butterflies. Some of the reasons these species are threatened are:
-they are associated with the unique fynbos plant kingdom that is under threat due to human pressure resulting in wide scale habitat destruction.
-some are associated, either directly or indirectly, with indigenous ants that are also threatened because of the alien Argentine ant that is replacing them.
Many species of this family have a fascinating association with ant species, each butterfly species usually associated with a single ant species. The extent of the association varies. In some cases the ant cares for the butterfly larva by guiding it up to its host plant to feed during the day and then back underground for protection at night (much like we keep cows) and the benefit for the ant is that the larva has a special honey gland that secretes a sweet substance that the ants enjoy. In other cases pheromones secreted by the larvae fool the ant into believing that the caterpillar is part of the ant brood, allowing the caterpillar to feed on them.
Adaptions for ant association
Ants are normally predators of caterpillars but predation can be overcome by defensive mechanisms that will either deter the ants, or attract them by the secretion of compounds that are so attractive to ants that they will protect the caterpillar instead.
Myrmecophilous caterpillars have developed adaptions for ant association:
-dorsal nectary organ (honey gland) that secretes sugars and amino acids upon solicitation by the ant.
-tentacle organs that produce chemical signals that modify the ant behaviour.
-perforated cupola organs, like minute pits, scattered over the caterpillar epidermis that are thought to secrete appeasment substances.
-the lycaenid larva cuticle is much thicker than other lepidopterous larvae that further protects it from ants.
-lycaenid larvae do not perform the jerky lateral movements typical of other lepidopteran larvae that release aggressive behaviour in ants.
-a certain group of larvae have vibratory papillae, two mobile, chitinised rods, that produce sounds that appear to attract ants.
More on this www - http://www.museums.org.za/bio/butterflies/lycaenidae.htm
Signal-Womb, sAner, LordPotty, pgmoni, carper, Janice, phlr has marked this note useful
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Very good shot Grzegorz, the overhead POV is great with effective DOF and accurate frame. The subtle colours of the butterfly are very pleasing, well done.
- [2005-03-20 6:57]
Very good picture Greg. The colors are good and the POV too. The busy BG (is this straight out of the camera or is it motionblur or gausianblur in PS?) is a little distracting for me. Well done! :)
Yep...Its a bit of a tatty specimen.but an interesting blue hue.Your notes are very thorough,packed full of interesting information about the strange life cycle of this butterfly. Great work.
Ten delikatny liliowy kolor na skrzydłach jest po prostu wspaniały!
- [2005-03-20 14:21]
It is indeed a veteran Grzegorz,
I like the good pof in this one. I know that the composition can be done better, I miss his head here a little, but even I like the good job, because the colours are super. good job. Gr. Jaap
- [2005-03-20 14:53]
Very interesting about the ants Greg. We have a few billions over here you can have.
Poor old tatty butterfly. A bit weary after a long summer. She's a bit blurred with movement, but nice POV. Good shot!
- [2005-03-20 15:51]
A nice capture Grzegorz.
Very good composition and detail alonf with a excellent informative note.
Nice shot Greg, goos details and very nice colours.
- [2005-07-15 7:00]
It's an old individual indeed.
Not common in Portugal.