Table 1: Classification of ant genera known to associate with Lycaenidae caterpillars into prevalence groups. Ant genera are classified into that group which corresponds to the dominance status of its most dominant component species involved in butterfly-ant associations. For example, Formica is scored as “top dominant” since many (but not all) Formica species are territorial key-stone ant species in their respective habitats and communities, adapted from [24].


Top dominant5Dominant ants in habitat; defend territories and resources intra- as well as interspecifically; monopolize resources against all heterospecific competitorsMyrmicinae: Pheidole;
Formicinae: Formica, Oecophylla;
Dolichoderinae: Anonychomyrma, Azteca, Forelius, Froggattella, Iridomyrmex, Papyrius

Second-order dominant4Subordinate relative to top dominants, but may become dominant in the absence of these; monopolize resourcesMyrmicinae: Crematogaster, Meranoplus, Monomorium, Myrmicaria, Solenopsis, Tetramorium;
Formicinae: Anoplolepis, Camponotus, Polyrhachis, Lasius, Lepisiota, Myrmecocystus;
Dolichoderinae: Dolichoderus, Linepithema, Liometopum, Ochetellus, Philidris;

Submissive3Subordinate to both classes of dominants; usually opportunistic species with generalized feeding habits; rarely defend and monopolize resources against heterospecific antsMyrmicinae: Acanthomyrmex, Aphaenogaster, Myrmica, Rhoptromyrmex;
Formicinae: Echinopla, Notoncus, Paratrechina, Prolasius;
Dolichoderinae: Dorymyrmex, Tapinoma, Technomyrmex;
Ponerinae: Ectatomma

Solitary2Foraging individually; rarely monopolize resourcesMyrmeciinae: Myrmecia;
Myrmicinae: Cataulacus;
Ponerinae: Gnamptogenys, Odontomachus, Rhytidoponera
Pseudomyrmecinae: Tetraponera, Pseudomyrmex

Cryptic1Minute species foraging on the ground or in leaf litter; inferior to all other ants in direct confrontationMyrmicinae: Leptothorax;
Formicinae: Brachymyrmex, Plagiolepis;
Dolichoderinae: Bothriomyrmex

Includes many species that become dominant in disturbed habitats or when introduced as alien species into non-adapted ant communities.