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Chemical Defence in Central American Non-Ant-Acacias

S. S. Rehr, P. P. Feeny and D. H. Janzen
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1973), pp. 405-416
DOI: 10.2307/3294
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3294
Page Count: 12
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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.
Chemical Defence in Central American Non-Ant-Acacias
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Abstract

(1) Certain species of Acacia in Central America gain protection against herbivores by means of a mutualistic association with ants. We have found that the foliage of other acacia species, not protected by ants, is toxic to larvae of the southern armyworm when it is incorporated into an artificial diet; diets of ant-acacia foliage, however, support normal growth. (2) Leaves of several species of non-ant-acacia were found to be cyanogenic, while ant-acacia leaves contain no cyanide. (3) The southern armyworm proved to be a cyanide-tolerant insect, so that the presence in non-ant-acacia leaves of an additional toxic chemical is suggested. (4) We found no evidence of alkaloids in the foliage of the toxic non-ant-acacias.

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