So, this is what happens: a female butterfly of these Coppers and Blues will lay eggs only on vegetation where there are ants of a particular species.
The butterflies can smell, well, ants leave behind pheromones, a special chemical signal.
The butterfly recognizes the ants’ pheromones on the plant
and then the newly hatched butterflies, the caterpillars will feed on this plant after they hatch from the eggs.
As the caterpillar gets a little older and find shelter under nearby rocks or stones to protect itself from predators, it’s always attended or escorted by ants.
And it always makes its way back to the host plant to feed, guided by the ants, the ant escort service, so to speak.
Now, why would the ants go through all this trouble? What’s their benefit? Mary?
It’s probably related to food?
Uh-huh? You are onto something.
OK, ants feed on sweet stuff, right? So the caterpillar must have some kind of special access to honey or sugar or something like that.
Maybe caterpillars produce honey somehow, on second thought, uh, I’m probably way off.