Caterpillar-ant symbiosis

on 5th May 2022
Photo 1. Two weaver ants stroke and collect nectar from a Centaur Oakblue 4th instar caterpillar. The long fine lateral setae on the caterpillar are discernible. Attribute to Soh Kam Yung.


Photo 2. The weaver ant at the bottom of the picture is collecting nectar from the nectary gland on the 7th segment of the Arhopala centaurus caterpillar. The dorsal surface of the caterpillar is brownish-red while the sides and undersides are yellowish – green. Attribute to Soh Kam Yung.


Photo 3. A different visual perspective of the two weaver ants milking the caterpillar for nectar. The spiracles are seen as little black dots on the side of the caterpillar.  Attribute to Soh Kam Yung.


Soh Kam Yung spotted at least two Centaur Oakblue (Arhopala centaurus) caterpillars being attended by weaver ants(Oecophylla smaragdina) at Coney Island on 2 May 2022. Interesting to see this kind of symbiotic interactions between ants and caterpillars. The caterpillars provide nectar for the ants, who then protect the caterpillars in return.

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