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Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga life stages

Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga life stages

The fruit fly Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga lays its eggs next to extrafloral nectaries of the Qualea grandiflora plant. (Egg shown at left.) The larva soon hatches and moves atop the nectary, forming a sticky shelter around itself (shown at right). Then it uses the plant’s nectar to attract ants, which normally feed on the nectar and protect the plant from predation by herbivores. But ants attracted to the nectar offered by the R. myrmecophaga larva become trapped atop the sticky shelter and then later become food for the larva. The inset at bottom right shows an adult R. myrmecophaga. (Photo credit: Mayra Vidal, Ph.D.)

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