Coloração críptica e padrão de uso de plantas hospedeiras em larvas de duas espécies mirmecófilas de Rekoa kaye (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae)

Ricardo Monteiro


Field studies on immatures of Rekoa marius and R. palegon (Lep.: Lycacnidae) show that R. marius immatures have a polyphagous habit feeding on 31 host species plants belonging to 11 families whereas R. palegon larvae were found on 11 plant species all but one Asteraceae. Experimental trials suggest that this host plant displacement may be based on both physiological and ecological mechanisms. R. marius starves when offered leaves of Asteraceae in the field (ecological constraint). It was observed myrmeccophilous glands such as Newcomer organ and epidermic glands in both species attracting a lot of ant species. It is suggested that this mutualism between ants and mature larvae may be an important factor protecting the larvae from parasitoid species. Larvae of both species show poliphenism. All specimens collected were cryptic and we demonstrate that this color pattern is food dependent in both species studied. This color determination mechanism turns the larvae always cryptic in every host plant or each stage like young or mature flower-bud used.

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