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Trends Ecol Evol. 1993 Apr;8(4):137-41. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(93)90026-L.

Do grasses fight back? The case for antiherbivore defences.

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  • 1Dept of Biology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, North York, Ontario, Canada M31 I P3.


In the past, discussion about grass-grazer interactions has tended to centre on whether they represent some sort of mutualism. However, intense grazing pressure is more likely to have selected for the presence of various antiherbivore defences in grasses. Many grasses contain silica, which functions in some cases as a physical defence. Others contain various secondary compounds which have negative effects on both invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores. Much recent evidence suggests that plants with higher levels of these defences deter herbivores more effectively than plants without them.

Copyright © 1993. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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