Document Detail

Defensive use of an acquired substance (carminic acid) by predaceous insect larvae.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8020623     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Larvae of two insects, a coccinellid beetle (Hyperaspis trifurcata) and a chamaemyiid fly (Leucopis sp.), feed on cochineal insects and appropriate their prey's defensive chemical, carminic acid, for protective purposes of their own. H. trifurcata discharges the chemical with droplets of blood (hemolymph) that it emits when disturbed; Leucopis sp. ejects the compound with rectal fluid. Ants are thwarted by these defenses, which are compared with the previously-described defense of a pyralid caterpillar (Laetilia coccidivora) that disgorges carminic acid-laden crop fluid. The defensive fluid of all three larvae contains carminic acid at concentrations spanning a range (0.2-6.2%) proven deterrent to ants. Many insects are known to appropriate defensive substances from plants. Insects that acquire defensive chemicals from animal sources may be relatively rare.
T Eisner; R Ziegler; J L McCormick; M Eisner; E R Hoebeke; J Meinwald
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Experientia     Volume:  50     ISSN:  0014-4754     ISO Abbreviation:  Experientia     Publication Date:  1994 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1994-08-04     Completed Date:  1994-08-04     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376547     Medline TA:  Experientia     Country:  SWITZERLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  610-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Section of Neurobiology & Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.
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MeSH Terms
Beetles / physiology*
Carmine / analogs & derivatives*
Diptera / physiology*
Insects / physiology*
Larva / physiology*
Predatory Behavior / physiology
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
1260-17-9/Carmine; 476-39-1/carminic acid

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