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Volume 2012, Article ID 591570, 7 pages
Review Article

Evolutionary Perspectives on Myrmecophily in Ladybirds

1Entomology Laboratory, Zoological Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, Box 2466, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR MiVEGEC-Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs Écologie, Génétique, Évolution et Contrôle, Antenne de Bobo-Dioulasso, 01 BP 171, Bobo Dioulasso 01, Burkina Faso
3CNRS, UMR EDB-Evolution et Diversité Biologique, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse, France
4ENFA, UMR EDB-Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Université de Toulouse, 2 Route de Narbonne, 31320 Castanet Tolosan, France
5CNRS, UMR EcoFoG-Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Campus Agronomique, BP 316, 97379 Kourou Cedex, France

Received 4 October 2011; Accepted 4 December 2011

Academic Editor: Volker Witte

Copyright © 2012 Amélie Vantaux et al. 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.


Myrmecophiles are species that usually have developed specialized traits to cope with the aggressiveness of ants enabling them to live in their vicinity. Many coccinellid species are predators of Hemiptera; the latter is also often protected by ants. Therefore these ladybirds frequently interact with ants, and some species have become myrmecophilous. In this paper, we aim to provide an overview of the evolution of myrmecophilous traits in ladybirds. We then discuss the costs and benefits of myrmecophily and the dietary shift to myrmecophagy observed in a few species.