Friday, February 06, 2009

Tricky caterpillar: Dining like an ant-queen

Now, that's clever:

A kind of European caterpillar can garner royal treatment from ants by mimicking the ch-ch-ch-ch of their queen, says an international research team.

Ants of the species Myrmica schencki can be fooled into carrying certain caterpillars into the colony nurseries where the fakers enjoy full care and five-star dining, explains Jeremy Thomas of the University of Oxford in England. An interloper caterpillar gains most of its body mass while luxuriating in ant care, and then turns into a Maculinea rebeli butterfly.

Learn more 'antazing' details at ScienceNews.

And don't miss hearing the caterpillar and ant sounds

Njam njam njam: Living like god in Ants.


  1. Interesting post Sean. I listened to the sounds but I think the Queen Ant sounds are slightly different in pitch than the caterpillar. Perhaps only to human ears?

    The ants do a great job!

  2. CherryPie,
    it's antastic, isn't it? :)

    my ears told me the same. The more surprising it is. Thinking of that the ants would rather feed the caterpillar than their queen, the future butterfly seems to be a cousin of the cuckoo. :)