Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Can Plants Practice Mimicry to Avoid Grazing by Mammalian Herbivores?

Karen L. Launchbaugh and Frederick D. Provenza
Oikos
Vol. 66, No. 3 (Apr., 1993), pp. 501-504
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3544945
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3544945
Page Count: 4
  • Get Access
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Can Plants Practice Mimicry to Avoid Grazing by Mammalian Herbivores?
Preview not available

Abstract

Mimicry has been suggested as a grazing avoidance mechanism for plants. This study examined the ability of a mammalian herbivore to generalize conditioned flavor aversions (CFAs) to determine if the conditions for plant mimicry exist. Nine sheep (treatment group) were averted to cinnamon on ground rice while an additional 9 sheep (control group) received cinnamon on rice with no negative post-ingestive consequences. When offered a choice between wheat and cinnamon-flavored wheat the control group ingested more (P < 0.05) cinnamon-flavored wheat (45 ± 6%) than did the treatment group (3 ± 1%) in four test periods. This implies that herbivores generalize CFAs and thus non-poisonous plants could mimic the flavor of poisonous plants to avoid grazing. Next, the animals were given a choice between soybean meal (SBM) in a food box which smelled of cinnamon and SBM in a food box with no added odor. The treatment group ate less (P < 0.05) SBM with cinnamon odor than did the control group in the first test period (13 ± 10% vs 58 ± 11%). However, the following three periods revealed no intake differences between control and treatment animals. This suggests that odor alone is not persistently effective in preventing herbivory by sheep, but that both taste and odor must be similar for one plant to successfully mimic another.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
501
    501
  • Thumbnail: Page 
502
    502
  • Thumbnail: Page 
503
    503
  • Thumbnail: Page 
504
    504