Silvery blue butterflies mating aspen sapling WMA female (closer and in focus) and male silvery blue butterfly have an intimate moment as they try to pretend to be aspen leaves! Eggs are laid singly and from this point on their adopted parents and bodyguards are ants!  The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the young tree leaves. The ants protect the larvae from predators and parasitic wasps and as compensation for this protection the larvae feed the ants a sugary concoction known as honeydew.  The honeydew isn’t given up easily by the larvae. It’s only when the ant climbs onto the back of the larvae and uses its antenna to stroke the larvae’s hairs  that the honeydew is secreted! Overwintering occurs in a chrysalis where they transform into a butterfly and emerge in the spring to repeat the whole process.

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