New Butterfly Is Able To Fool Ants Into Feeding Their Young

February 6, 2009

UK (ChattahBox) – British researchers as the University of Oxford have found a new type of butterfly that tricks ants into feeding, caring, and even giving special treatment to their larvae, a new study reports.

The Maculina rebeli is a unique form of butterfly that releases a similar scent to that of ants, and so are able to trick the other insects into taking care of their young, sometimes to such an extent that the ants believe it to be a special status of ant, requiring better treatment then the usual young.

In another strange twist, when one of these caterpillars are placed in an area with other queen ants, and a number of workers, the queens are able to tell the difference, but the workers cannot, leading them to attack their own queens if they attempt to bite the caterpillars.

The study has been published in Science.


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