Insect Associates - Alex Wild Photography
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Liometopum occidentale velvety tree ant workers tending larvae of the copper butterfly Lycaena xanthoides.  The caterpillars produce a substance attractive to the ants, and the ants provide protection from predators and parasites.

Kern County, California, USA

Liometopum occidentale velvety tree ant workers tending larvae of the copper butterfly Lycaena xanthoides. The caterpillars produce a substance attractive to the ants, and the ants provide protection from predators and parasites. Kern County, California, USA

Liometopum occidentaledolichoderinaeformicidaeantsinsectsbugscaterpillarcaterpillarslycaenidaegreat copperlepidopteraecologytendingsymbiosisarthropodsbiology