January 3, National Geographic

Fans of Aesop know that hard-working ants are fabled targets for freeloading parasites.

But a new study of the ant species Myrmica rubra shows that sometimes the tiny laborers fight back, triggering a co-evolutionary arms race that can catch related species in the crossfire.

In parts of Denmark, Alcon blue butterflies lay their eggs on marsh plants (left) near M. rubra colonies. When the larvae hatch, their outer layers mimic the hydrocarbon chemistry of the ants' cuticles.
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