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Volume 2012, Article ID 126876, 10 pages
Research Article

Life History of Aricoris propitia (Lepidoptera: Riodinidae)—A Myrmecophilous Butterfly Obligately Associated with Fire Ants

1Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CP 6109, Campinas 13083-970, SP, Brazil
2Laboratório de Ecologia de Invertebrados, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Pará, Rua Augusto Corrêa 01, Guamá, Belém 66075-110, PA, Brazil

Received 1 September 2011; Accepted 8 October 2011

Academic Editor: Jean Paul Lachaud

Copyright © 2012 Lucas A. Kaminski and Fernando S. Carvalho-Filho. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The immature stages of Aricoris propitia (Stichel) are described and illustrated for the first time, using both light and scanning electron microscopy. Females oviposit in at least seven host-plant families, always in the presence of fire ants (Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) complex), without being attacked by them. Larvae are tended by ants during all larval and pupal stages. From the fourth instar on, larvae feed at night and rest during the day inside underground shelters constructed by ants on the host plant roots, and where pupation occurs. Several observed features, including ant-mediated oviposition, persistent ant attendance throughout all instars, and high spatiotemporal fidelity indicate that A. propitia is a myrmecophile obligately associated with fire ants. We propose A. propitia as an extraordinary model for studies on ant-butterfly evolutionary history in the Neotropics.