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Type: Artigo de periódico
Title: Chemical defence of the warningly coloured caterpillars of Methona themisto (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Ithomiinae)
Author: Massuda, KF
Trigo, JR
Abstract: The caterpillars of the butterfly Methona themisto (Nymphalidae: Ithomiinae) are conspicuosly coloured and feed exclusively on Brunfelsia uniflora (Solanaceae), a plant that is rich in secondary plant substances, which suggests the caterpillars are chemically protected against predators. Results of experiments indicate that predators determine the survival of Methona themisto caterpillars in the field and laboratory bioassays that this organism is eaten by ants and spiders but not chicks. Both the conspicuous orange and black striped colouration and chemical compounds of Methona themisto caterpillars seem to be related to protection against predation by visually hunting predating. Chicks ate proportionally more of the cryptically coloured 1(st) instar caterpillars than of the conspicuosly coloured later instar caterpillars. That Methona themisto caterpillars are chemically defended is supported by the activity of the dichloromethanic extract of 5(th) instars in preventing predation by chicks. Caterpillars of Methona themisto are aposematic as they are both (1) unpalatable, and (2) their warning signal is easily recognized by potential predators. Chicks learned to avoid the aposematic 3(rd) or 5(th) instar caterpillars after one encounter. Mealworms painted to look like caterpillars were also rejected by chicks that had previously encountered Methona caterpillars. Naive chicks did not avoid eating the painted mealworms, which indicates they do not innately avoid this specific colour pattern.
Subject: Aposematism
Brunfelsia uniflora
Camponotus crassus
Gallus gallus domesticas
Lycosa erythrognatha
Country: República Checa
Editor: Czech Acad Sci, Inst Entomology
Rights: fechado
Date Issue: 2009
Appears in Collections:Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos

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