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Singing the blues: from experimental biology to conservation application
Josef Settele, Francesca Barbero, Martin Musche, Jeremy A. Thomas, Karsten Schönrogge


Chemical communication plays a major role in the organisation of ant societies, and is mimicked to near perfection by certain large blue (Maculinea) butterflies that parasitise Myrmica ant colonies. The recent discovery of differentiated acoustical communication between different castes of ants, and the fact that this too is mimicked by the butterflies, adds a new component of coevolutionary complexity to a fascinating multitrophic system of endangered species, and it could inspire new ways to engage the public in their conservation.


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