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Chemical warfare between butterflies and ants – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

4 January 2008

Chemical warfare between butterflies and ants

Among humans, making yourself smell more alluring than you really are is a fairly harmless, socially accepted habit that maintains a complete perfume industry. However, it is a matter of life and death for caterpillars of large blue butterflies that dupe ant workers into believing them to be one of the ant's own larvae. In a publication in the journal Science this week[1], researchers from the Centre for Social Evolution (CSE) at the University of Copenhagen show that caterpillar deception is also a matter of smell, and that there is an ongoing co-evolutionary arms race in smell similarity between cheaters and their victims...

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