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Larval feeding behavior and ant association in frosted elfin, Callophrys irus (Lycaenidae)

Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society
By: , and 

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Abstract

Callophrys irus is a rare and declining lycaenid found in the eastern U.S., inhabiting xeric and open habitats maintained by disturbance. Populations are localized and monophagous. We document a previously undescribed larval feeding behavior in both field and lab reared larvae in which late instar larvae girdled the main stem of the host plant. Girdled stems provide a unique feeding sign that was useful in detecting the presence of larvae in the field. We also observed frequent association of field larvae with several species of ants and provide a list of ant species. We suggest two hypotheses on the potential benefits of stem-girdling to C. irus larvae: 1) Stem girdling provides phloem sap as a larval food source and increases the leaf nutrient concentration, increasing larval growth rates and providing high quality honeydew for attending ants; 2) Stem girdling reduces stem toxicity by inhibiting transport of toxins from roots to the stem.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Larval feeding behavior and ant association in frosted elfin, Callophrys irus (Lycaenidae)
Series title Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society
Volume 61
Issue 2
Year Published 2007
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society
First page 61
Last page 66