Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Especies de producción específicos del cuerpo Mülleriano y defensas anti-herbívoro en el mutualismo Azteca-Cecropia


Eric Lawyer



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Publication Date

May 2007


In Monteverde Costa Rica there are five species of Azteca (Formicidae) that inhabit Cecropia (Cecropiaceae) in a facultative ant-plant mutualism (Longino 1989). Azteca provide Cecropia protection from herbivory while Cecropia provide a home for Azteca in trunk internodes as well as glycogen and protein-rich Müllerian bodies (Janzen 1973). Because some Azteca show more aggressive behavior when Cecropia is disturbed (Longino 1996), it would be expected that their host Cecropia would suffer lower herbivory than Cecropia inhabited by less aggressive Azteca. In this study, herbivory and Müllerian body production were examined in Cecropia with their Azteca mutualists. Although correlations between Azteca species and herbivory and Müllerian body production were not found to be statistically significant, the trends shown by the data indicate that the differential production does indeed occur in that Cecropia with lower herbivory produce comparatively more Müllerian bodies than Cecropia that have received more herbivory . The data presented in this study indicate niche partitioning wherein Azteca that are more heavily invested in Cecropia protection are rewarded in higher Müllerian body production on the host Cecropia. En este estudio, examiné el nivel de herbivoría y la producción de los cuerpos Müllerianos examinados en Cecropia con sus mutualistas azteca.


Azteca (Insects), Azteca (Insectos), Cecropia, Herbivores, Herbivoros, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde, CIEE Spring 2007, CIEE Primavera 2007


Student affiliation : Department of Biology, University of Oregon Born Digital

Subject: topical

Azteca (Insects); Azteca (Insectos); Cecropia; Herbivores; Herbivoros; CIEE Spring 2007; CIEE Primavera 2007

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Species specific Müllerian body production and anti-herbivore defense in the Azteca- Cecropia mutualism



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