Host specificity among Maculinea butterflies in Myrmica ant nests

Host specificity among Maculinea butterflies in Myrmica ant nests Ecological studies have been made of all 5 European species of Maculinea . These confirm that M. nausithous and M. rebeli live underground in Myrmica ant nests for 10 months of the year, as has long been known for the other 3 species. The main discovery was that each Maculinea species depends on a single, and different, host species of Myrmica . This specificity contradicts previous papers and scientific reviews of the relationship between Maculinea and ants. Therefore, early records are re-examined and 3 reasons are given to explain why most are misleading when applied to wild populations. Dependence on a single, rather than any, species of Myrmica explains why Maculinea populations exist in only a small minority of biotopes where their foodplants and Myrmica ants abound. It also explains the puzzling disappearance of Maculinea populations from apparently suitable sites. The discovery that M. alcon and M. rebeli depend on separate species of Myrmica that are not even closely related strengthens the argument that these butterflies are good species. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Host specificity among Maculinea butterflies in Myrmica ant nests

Oecologia, Volume 79 (4) – Jun 1, 1989

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1989 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Plant Sciences
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/BF00378660
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ecological studies have been made of all 5 European species of Maculinea . These confirm that M. nausithous and M. rebeli live underground in Myrmica ant nests for 10 months of the year, as has long been known for the other 3 species. The main discovery was that each Maculinea species depends on a single, and different, host species of Myrmica . This specificity contradicts previous papers and scientific reviews of the relationship between Maculinea and ants. Therefore, early records are re-examined and 3 reasons are given to explain why most are misleading when applied to wild populations. Dependence on a single, rather than any, species of Myrmica explains why Maculinea populations exist in only a small minority of biotopes where their foodplants and Myrmica ants abound. It also explains the puzzling disappearance of Maculinea populations from apparently suitable sites. The discovery that M. alcon and M. rebeli depend on separate species of Myrmica that are not even closely related strengthens the argument that these butterflies are good species.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 1, 1989

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