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Contents of the Talking Caterpillars module: Interspecies Communication in a Butterfly-Ant Mutualism

Synopsis: This module explores the many ways in which different species interact with each other. It starts with a system for categorizing interactions, and then focuses on mutualistic relationships, using ants and aphids as an example. Next a case study of ant -- caterpillar interaction is introduced, and the user learns how to generate predictions about communication between ants and caterpillars, and how to test these predictions. THe user finally encounters the research that this module is based on, including video clips of ants and caterpillars interacting. The module is about 18 pages long.

1. Introduction: how -- and why -- do ants and caterpillars talk to each other?

1a. Getting started: learning objectives and system requirements

2. Interspecific interactions: the grid of outcomes.

3. The interaction continuum: conditional outcomes.

4. Ant protection mutualisms: the ant-aphid example (animated slide show)

4a. Obligate versus facultative interactions

(Extra reading: 5. Ants and their mutualists)

(Extra reading: 6. Lycaenid butterflies (pronounced "lye-SEE-nid"))

7. Ants and lycaenid larvae (caterpillars)

8. How lycaenids communicate with ants

9. The amazing eversible tentacular organs

10. Hypotheses about the tentacular organs

11. About hypothesis testing

12. Interactive slide show: you generate the predictions

jen0: intro to Jen & her study system. photos & links to more photos.

jen1: the 3 slide show hypotheses and what she found

jen2: the volatile hypothesis

jen 3: what else she found

13. Lycaenid/Ant Video

14. Lycaenid/Ant Research and Links:

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