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Annu Rev Entomol. 2002;47:57-92.

Sequestration of defensive substances from plants by Lepidoptera.

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Laboratory of Chemical Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


A number of aposematic butterfly and diurnal moth species sequester unpalatable or toxic substances from their host plants rather than manufacturing their own defensive substances. Despite a great diversity in their life histories, there are some general features in the selective utilization of plant secondary metabolites to achieve effective protection from predators. This review illustrates the biochemical, physiological, and ecological characteristics of phytochemical-based defense systems that can shed light on the evolution of the widely developed sequestering lifestyles among the Lepidoptera.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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