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Mantids and Milkweed Bugs: Efficacy of Aposematic Coloration Against Invertebrate Predators

May R. Berenbaum and E. Miliczky
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 111, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 64-68
DOI: 10.2307/2425543
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425543
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mantids and Milkweed Bugs: Efficacy of Aposematic Coloration Against Invertebrate Predators
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Abstract

After attacking and consuming milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) raised on seeds of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), the mantid Tenodera ardifolia sinensis regurgitates and shows signs of poisoning by cardenolides, secondary substances sequestered by the bugs from their host plants. After several encounters, mantids refuse to attack milkweed bugs altogether; moreover, they refuse to attack palatable and non-toxic O. fasciatus raised on seeds of sunflower, a plant lacking cardenolides. This, then, is the first report of the efficacy of automimicry as a defense against invertebrate predators, and the first report of emetic potential of substances derived from milkweed against insects.

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