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J Chem Ecol. 1990 Jan;16(1):151-64. doi: 10.1007/BF01021276.

Sequestration of distasteful compounds by some pharmacophagous insects.

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Pesticide Research Institute Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University, 606, Kyoto, Japan.


Several pharmacophagous insects have been shown to sequester specific kairomonal substances or their derivatives in their body tissues. Turnip sawflies,Athalia rosae, visit a plant,Clerodendron trichototmum (Verbenaceae), and feed voraciously on the leaf surface. Clerodendrins were characterized as the potent phagostimulants forA. rosae adults. The insect sequesters some of the analogs and becomes extremely bitter on its body surface. Some chrysomelid leaf beetles associated with cucurbitacins were found to store high concentrations of these bitter principles in their body. South American polyphagous beetles,Diabrotica speciosa andCerotoma arcuata, are strongly arrested by root components from the cucurbit plant,Ceratosanthes hilariana, and selectively accumulate 23,24-dihydrocucurbitacin D, effectively gaining bitterness. Similarly, four species of Asian pumpkin leaf beetles belonging to the genusAulacophora were shown to sequester the same compound in body tissue as the major bitter principle. Three phenylpropanoids closely related to methyl eugenol were found to accumulate in the rectal glands of the male Oriental fruit fly,Dacus dorsalis. One of the rectal gland components, 2-allyl-4,5-dimethoxyphenol was shown to be released in the air during courtship. In all of these cases, selectively sequestered compounds strongly deterred feeding by some predators, thus serving as allomones in this context. Kairomonal and pheromonal functions linked with allomonal sequestration by pharmacophagous feeding has also been suggested.


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