Nutrient Composition of Larval Nectar Secretions from Three Species of Myrmecophilous Butterflies Article First Online: 18 December 2005 Received: 09 December 2004 Revised: 16 August 2005 Accepted: 02 September 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Daniels, H., Gottsberger, G. & Fiedler, K. J Chem Ecol (2005) 31: 2805. doi:10.1007/s10886-005-8395-y Abstract
A comparative chemical analysis of the larval nectar secretions and hemolymph from three unspecifically and facultatively ant-attended lycaenid species (
Polyommatus coridon, P. icarus, and Zizeeria knysna) was performed by using high-performance liquid chromatography techniques. Sucrose was the main sugar component in all three species. In half of the samples of P. coridon, it was accompanied by glucose, whereas other sugars occurred only rarely. In P. icarus and Z. knysna, melezitose was the second-most important component, followed by fructose and glucose. Total sugar contents were 43.6 ± 14.8 g/l (mean ± SD) for P. coridon, 74.2 g/l for P. icarus, and 68.3 ± 22.6 g/l for Z. knysna. Up to 14 different identified amino acids were found in P. coridon nectar, with a total content of 9.7 ± 3.4 g/l. Leucine was always the major component (contributing 50% of overall amino acid content). Other important amino acids were tyrosine, proline, arginine, and phenylalanine. P. icarus nectar contained up to six amino acids with a total content of 1.2 g/l, dominated by tyrosine and phenylalanine. Z. knysna nectar contained alanine and proline, with only 0.3 ± 0.17 g/l total content. In the hemolymph of all species, up to 16 different amino acids occurred relatively regularly, with histidine dominating, followed by serine and proline. The amino acid pattern in hemolymph was considerably different from that of the nectar secretions. Larval diet weakly influenced P. coridon nectar sugars, and with a semisynthetic diet, a more homogeneous amino acid pattern was detected. Comparison with reports from other lycaenid species shows that secretions rich in amino acids are related to intimate, often obligate ant associations, whereas facultative, unspecific myrmecophiles rely on carbohydrates. Key Words Lycaenidae ants myrmecophily facultative mutualism nectar secretion sugars amino acids References Baker, H. G., Baker, I. 1986 The occurrence and significance of amino acids in floral nectar Plant Syst. Evol. 151 175 186 Google Scholar Bernays, E. A., Klein, B. A. 2002 Quantifying the symbiont contribution to essential amino acids in aphids: the importance of tryptophan for Uroleucon ambrosiae Physiol. Entomol. 27 275 284 Google Scholar Blüthgen, N., Fiedler, K. 2004 Preferences for sugars and amino acids in a diverse nectar-feeding ant community J. Anim. Ecol. 73 155 166 Google Scholar Blüthgen, N., Gottsberger, G., Fiedler, K. 2004 Sugar and amino acid composition of ant-attended nectar and honeydew sources from an Australian rainforest Austral. Ecol. 29 418 429 Google Scholar Burghardt, F., Fiedler, K. 1996 The influence of diet on growth and secretion behaviour of myrmecophilous Polyommatus icarus caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) Ecol. Entomol. 21 1 8 Google Scholar Clarke, K. R., Warwick, R. M. 2001Change in Marine Communities: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and Interpretation Primer-E Plymouth Google Scholar Cornelius, M. L., Grace, J. K., Yates, J. R. I. 1996 Acceptability of different sugars and oils to three tropical ant species (Hymen., Formicidae) Anz. Schädl.kd. Pflanzenschutz Umweltschutz 69 41 43 Google Scholar Cottrell, G. B. 1984 Aphytophagy in butterflies: Its relationship to myrmecophily Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 79 1 57 Google Scholar Cushman, J. H., Rashbrook, V. K., Beattie, A. J. 1994 Assessing benefits to both participants in a lycaenid–ant association Ecology 75 1031 1041 Google Scholar
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