Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Do Insects Like To Eat Some Plants More Than Others?

Date:
November 14, 2006
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Plant-insect ecologists typically attribute the differences to variation in the nutritional quality or defective chemistry of plant tissues. However, the researchers found that cactus-feeding insects chose host plants based on how the plants allocated resources between growth and reproduction.

Multiple stages of cactus bugs on tree cholla cacti. Most insects in this photo are juveniles. There is one adult on the cactus fruit (top right) and one newly eclosed (pale) adult at the lower left.
Credit: Courtesy T. Miller

In a study appearing in the forthcoming issue of The American Naturalist, Tom E. X. Miller, Andrew J. Tyre, and Svata M. Louda (all of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln) examined herbivore dynamics, specifically why plants aren't all eaten at the same rate. Plant-insect ecologists typically attribute the differences to variation in the nutritional quality or defective chemistry of plant tissues. However, the researchers found that cactus-feeding insects chose host plants based on how the plants allocated resources between growth and reproduction.

Related Articles


"The crux of our findings is actually quite intuitive", says Miller. "These insects prefer to feed on flowers, so it's not terribly surprising that they are abundant on cacti that invest most of their resources in flowers."

"What was surprising," Miller adds, "was how one single trait predicted the variation"

The results also have implications for understanding the evolution of plant allocation strategies. Current thinking on the subject says that these strategies are a trade-off between current reproduction and future survival. The finding that plant reproductive allocation can attract enemies means that sex may be even more costly than previously though. This research also has implications for weed control and protection of rare plant species.

Founded in 1867, The American Naturalist is one of the world's most renowned, peer-reviewed publications in ecology, evolution, and population and integrative biology research. AN emphasizes sophisticated methodologies and innovative theoretical syntheses--all in an effort to advance the knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles.

Tom E.X. Miller, Andrew J. Tyre, and Svata M. Louda, "Plant reproductive allocation predicts herbivore dynamics across spatial and temporal scales." The American Naturalist: November 2006.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Do Insects Like To Eat Some Plants More Than Others?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113175835.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2006, November 14). Why Do Insects Like To Eat Some Plants More Than Others?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113175835.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Do Insects Like To Eat Some Plants More Than Others?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113175835.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins