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Cyanogenic Glycosides in Ant-Acacias of Mexico and Central America

David S. Seigler and John E. Ebinger
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Dec. 9, 1987), pp. 499-503
DOI: 10.2307/3671484
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3671484
Page Count: 5
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Cyanogenic Glycosides in Ant-Acacias of Mexico and Central America
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Abstract

More than 2,000 living and dried collections of the 12 species of ant-acacias occurring in Mexico and Central America were tested for the presence of cyanogenic compounds. Most do not have cyanogenic glycosides although three species appear to have a duplicate defense system of myrmecophyly and cyanogenesis. One of these, Acacia chiapensis Safford, has been suggested to be a marginal host for obligate species of ants and, in many features of growth and habit, resembles non-ant-acacias. Populations of Acacia globulifera Safford and Acacia hindsii Benth. vary in the presence of cyanogenic compounds. Approximately one third of the specimens of A. globulifera tested lacked the enzyme necessary to hydrolyze cyanogenic glycosides. About one third of the specimens of A. hindsii possessed cyanogenic compounds. The presence of a mutualistic relationship with ants in these three species does not appear to have greatly reduced their dependence on chemical defenses.

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