A free lunch? No cost for acquiring defensive plant pyrrolizidine alkaloids in a specialist arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)

  title={A free lunch? No cost for acquiring defensive plant pyrrolizidine alkaloids in a specialist arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)},
  author={Rodrigo Cogni and Jos{\'e} Roberto Trigo and Douglas J. Futuyma},
  journal={Molecular Ecology},
Many herbivorous insects sequester defensive chemicals from their host plants. We tested sequestration fitness costs in the specialist moth Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). We added pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) to an artificial diet at different concentrations. Of all the larval and adult fitness components measured, only development time was negatively affected by PA concentration. These results were repeated under stressful laboratory conditions. On the other hand, the amount of… 

Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids Negatively Affect a Generalist Herbivore Feeding on the Chemically Protected Legume Crotalaria pallida

The results suggest that PAs in isolation are not the defense responsible for the mortality in fresh C. pallida plants, indicating the importance of other possible defenses.

Feeding on Host Plants with Different Concentrations and Structures of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids Impacts the Chemical-Defense Effectiveness of a Specialist Herbivore

The protection against the spider was more effective in adults whose larvae fed on seeds, which had a higher PA concentration than leaves, and the results are partially explained by host plant phylogeny, since PAs of the host plants do have a phylogenetic signal which is reflected in the adult defense.

Ants visiting extrafloral nectaries and pyrrolizidine alkaloids may shape how a specialist herbivore feeds on its host plants

It is hypothesized that the moths’ feeding habit was influenced by its natural enemies via their presence on EFNs, and a change in the feeding habit in U. ornatrix larvae is a plastic response that depends on whether EFNs are present or not, or whether PA concentrations are low or high.

What Goes in Must Come Out? The Metabolic Profile of Plants and Caterpillars, Frass, And Adults of Asota (Erebidae: Aganainae) Feeding on Ficus (Moraceae) in New Guinea

Results provide evidence for the importance of phytochemistry and metabolic strategies in the formation of plant–insect interactions and food webs in general and provide a new potential example of insects acquiring chemicals for their benefit in an ecologically relevant insect genus.

Quinolizidine and Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Chemical Ecology – a Mini-Review on Their Similarities and Differences

  • M. Wink
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Journal of chemical ecology
  • 2019
This mini-review summarizes over 40 years of research on quinolizidine (QAs) and pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) to allow deeper insights in the molecular evolution of these two classes of alkaloid in plant-insect interactions.

Quinolizidine and Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Chemical Ecology – a Mini-Review on Their Similarities and Differences

  • M. Wink
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Journal of Chemical Ecology
  • 2018
This mini-review summarizes over 40 years of research on quinolizidine (QAs) and pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which serve as general defense compounds against herbivores for the plants producing them.

You are what you eat: native versus exotic Crotalaria species (Fabaceae) as host plants of the Ornate Bella Moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae)

Crotalaria plants and Utetheisa ornatrix are closely linked to each other: the larvae destroy the seeds, while the moth depends on hostplants for alkaloids. To better understand the ongoing

Condition dependence in biosynthesized chemical defenses of an aposematic and mimetic Heliconius butterfly

The results indicate that toxicity level of adult butterflies may be dependent on individual condition, influenced by genetic background or earlier conditions, with maternal effects as one strong candidate mechanism.

Transcriptional profile and differential fitness in a specialist milkweed insect across host plants varying in toxicity

It is shown that more toxic plant species have a negative effect on aphid development and lifetime fecundity, and disentangling how specialist insects respond to challenging host plants is a pivotal step in understanding the evolution of specialized diet breadths.

Localization of Defensive Chemicals in Two Congeneric Butterflies (Euphydryas, Nymphalidae)

Examination of the distribution of sequestered iridoid glycosides in two congeneric species of nymphalid butterfly found that the pattern of localization of IGs differed between the two species.



Pyrrolizidine alkaloids on three trophic levels – evidence for toxic and deterrent effects on phytophages and predators

The study corroborates the immediate toxic effect of PAs on non-adapted herbivores and the protective effect that adapted insects may gain by sequestering them and underlines the potential for PAs to play a central role in multitrophic interactions between plants, phytophages and their predators.

Reproductive benefits derived from defensive plant alkaloid possession in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix).

It is argued that by "compressing" their adult existence into a shorter period, female U. ornatrix may actually accrue benefits, suggesting that, by putting the compounds to use, the moth may be incurring a cost.

Resistance management in a native plant: nicotine prevents herbivores from compensating for plant protease inhibitors.

It is concluded that N. attenuata counters an insect adaptation with a defensive synergism, and larvae performed better on nicotine-deficient plants than they did on plants silenced in both defenses.

Attract and deter: a dual role for pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plant–insect interactions

  • M. Macel
  • Environmental Science
    Phytochemistry Reviews
  • 2010
The differences in effects of PAs on specialist and generalists could lead to opposing selection on PAs, which may maintain the genetic diversity in PA concentration and composition in Senecio species.

Selective transport systems mediate sequestration of plant glucosides in leaf beetles: a molecular basis for adaptation and evolution.

An evolutionary scenario in which, after a host-plant change, the transport system of the leaf beetles may play a pivotal role in the adaptation on new hosts by selecting plant-derived glucosides that can be channeled to the defensive system is confirmed.

Physiological mechanisms underlying the costs of chemical defence in Junonia coenia Hu¨bner (Nymphalidae): A gravimetric and quantitative genetic analysis

The results of an ecological genetic investigation of food use efficiency and allelochemical sequestration in Junonia coenia Hu¨bner (Nymphalidae) indicate that even adapted specialists are negatively affected by plant toxins, but in this species, dietary specialization is more likely to result from selection from natural enemies than from hostplant toxins.

Evolutionary recruitment of a flavin-dependent monooxygenase for the detoxification of host plant-acquired pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the alkaloid-defended arctiid moth Tyria jacobaeae

The data indicate that the gene for T. jacobaeae SNO, highly specific for toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, was recruited from a preexisting insect-specific FMO gene family of hitherto unknown function.

The “Raison D'être” of pyrrolizidine alkaloids inCynoglossum officinale: Deterrent effects against generalist herbivores

It is hypothesized that the skewed distribution of PAs over the leaves of rosette plants reflects optimal defense distribution within the plant and that the oldest leaves were relatively more damaged by herbivores than the youngest leaves.

Antagonistic, Stage-Specific Selection on Defensive Chemical Sequestration in a Toxic Butterfly

  • J. FordyceC. Nice
  • Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2008
Early instar larvae from families that sequester greater amounts of aristolochic acid showed increased survivorship in a field experiment in which cohorts from each family were exposed to natural predators, whereas among-family variation in growth rate did not predict survivorship.

Extrafloral nectaries as a deterrent mechanism against seed predators in the chemically protected weed Crotalaria pallida (Leguminosae)

The results indicate that extrafloral nectaries can act as another deterrent mechanism in chemically protected plants by promoting the expulsion of specialist seed predators.