, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 97–100 | Cite as

The ladybird Thalassa saginata, an obligatory myrmecophile of Dolichoderus bidens ant colonies

  • Jérôme Orivel
  • Pablo Servigne
  • Philippe Cerdan
  • Alain Dejean
  • Bruno Corbara
Short Communication


The larvae and pupae of the ladybird Thalassa saginata develop inside colonies of the dolichoderine ant Dolichoderus bidens. This association is the first specific and obligatory relationship recorded between ants and ladybirds. The ants provide shelter and protection to the larvae but the diet of the latter remains unclear. The integration of T. saginata larvae into the ant colonies is achieved by mimicking the cuticular patterns of the ants’ brood. Moreover, the larvae secrete substances from their hairs and anal gland that are likely to enhance their attractiveness.


Anal Gland Host Colony Cuticular Compound Chemical Mimicry Cuticular Profile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Nicole Berti (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris) for the identification of the ladybird specimens, to Andrea Dejean for proofreading the manuscript, and to anonymous referees for their in-depth reading and relevant remarks. This work was supported by the French “Ministère de l’Aménagement du Territoire et de l’Environnement” (research agreement no 92191 and ECOFOR No 98) and by the French CNRS. We would like to thank the IRD of Cayenne and Océan Vert/Radeau des Cimes 96 for their logistical support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérôme Orivel
    • 1
  • Pablo Servigne
    • 2
  • Philippe Cerdan
    • 3
  • Alain Dejean
    • 1
  • Bruno Corbara
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Evolution et Diversité Biologique, UMR-CNRS 5174 Université Toulouse IIIToulouse cedex 4France
  2. 2.LAPSCO, UMR-CNRS 6024Université Blaise PascalClermont-Ferrand cedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire Environnement de Petit Saut (HYDRECO)Kourou cedexFrance

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