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Jalmenus evagoras is a medium sized lycaenid butterfly endemic to south eastern Australia. Adults have iridescent greenish blue wings bordered in black with a long thin tail. Underside is yellow-buff with a series of black spots and bands. Larvae are dark coloured and have a row of short fleshy projections each side of the dorsal ridge. They are gregarious and feed openly during the day on a variety of Acacia plants where they are attended by swarms of small black Iridomyrmex ants. Adults of J. evagoras can occur in large populations but are usually localised throughout the species range. This patchy distribution is in part due to the dependence of J. evagoras upon the overlapping requirements of suitable host plant and attendant ants. Ants are attracted to sweet secretions produced by the butterfly larvae and in return they protect the larvae from a range of predators and parasitoids. J. evagoras has been used as a model organism for testing a range of behavioural and evolutionary hypotheses. See Pierce lab website for list of publications.


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Rod Eastwood


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