Biparental defensive endowment of eggs with acquired plant alkaloid in the moth Utetheisa ornatrix.

  title={Biparental defensive endowment of eggs with acquired plant alkaloid in the moth Utetheisa ornatrix.},
  author={David E. Dussourd and Karel Ubik and Carl A. Harvis and James Franklin Resch and Jerrold Meinwald and Thomas Eisner},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  volume={85 16},
  • D. E. DussourdK. Ubik T. Eisner
  • Published 1 August 1988
  • Chemistry
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The eggs of Utetheisa ornatrix contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These compounds are contributed by both parents, who sequester them as larvae from their food plants. Females receive alkaloid from the males at mating, apparently by seminal infusion, and transmit this alkaloid together with alkaloid of their own to the eggs. Field and laboratory tests showed that the alkaloids protect eggs from predators. The alkaloidal contribution of the male, although smaller than that of the female, itself… 

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The chemistry of sexual selection.

  • T. EisnerJ. Meinwald
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1995
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Chemical defense: bestowal of a nuptial alkaloidal garment by a male moth on its mate.

Protective nuptial festooning of a female by its mate, such as is practiced by C. myrodora, appears to be without parallel among insects.

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