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Emerging imperial blue butterfly

Jalmenus evagoras


Tiny blue butterfly stretches and expands its wings after it emerges from its cocoon. The brown larvae (pic 2) and cocoon (pic 3and 4 ) are swarmed by ants who protect it from predators and receive honeydew as a reward.


Sometimes common on low acacia and always attended by ants.

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MartinL 7 years ago

Another spotting of this species
It seems quite late in the season.

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks for your comments. These are common this year but sometimes absent for many years. They're hard to photograph because of angry ants everywhere. Ant associations are known to exist for many lycaenid species.

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 8 years ago

This is learning lesson Martin.. Great efforts.. for this Great spotting..!!

KarenL 8 years ago

Awesome spot!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

Exceptional picture story martin. You must have really enjoyed that find.

bayucca 8 years ago

Would be a pity not to see this wonderful adult butterfly!

MartinL 8 years ago

I've added the adult butterfly.

Maria dB
Maria dB 8 years ago

Interesting series and information!

MartinL 8 years ago

Bayucca thanks for that fascinating data. That is all new to me. Evolution will use any mechanism available to gain a survival advantage, so maybe we don't need to be surprised. All vertebrates already use "bioacoustics" (I love that word already).

MartinL 8 years ago

Here are (other) ants with some early instar larvae of the same butterfly species. This species is quite common this year. The leaf hopper nymph is incidental and noticed later. If you see arboreal ants, then always look more closely.

bayucca 8 years ago

Excellent spotting and interesting info! Martin, did you ever heard of singing caterpillars?? Check the link and read "my" story about this amazing relationship between larvae and ants. Did you know how this works in your wonderful Lycaenidae? In metalmark this function is quite wellknown.

Atul 8 years ago

absolutely martin :-))

MartinL 8 years ago

Atul, every photo has a story and every spotting is a specimen frozen in time. A photograph of a speeding car has its movement frozen and needs words to tell a more complete story

Atul 8 years ago

lovely spotting martinl ,your spottings are always very informative , thanks for sharing!
also you could consider adding it to the mission SymbioticRelationships!

Spotted by

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Feb 9, 2012
Submitted on Feb 9, 2012

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