Mimicry for self-defense
It's not exactly clear why the butterflies sport red dots on their wings, but one possibility is that they are trying to mimic the ants, thereby deterring predators from turning them into a tasty snack.
Stuck in a bad relationship
It's not exactly clear why the ants tolerate the freeloading from the butterflies.
One possibility is that ants have poor vision and communicate by smell, meaning that if the caterpillars continue to secrete friendly pheromones into their adult stage, the ants may not notice that the butterflies have been
Ant does bodyguard duty
Here, an ant does bodyguard duty for the larva.
Ant and butterfly
An ant gets some air hanging out on the wing of the Adelotypa annulifera butterfly.
Here, the adult butterfly rests on a leaf.
Here, a butterfly and an ant hang out together on a bamboo leaf.