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Morphological, behavioral and chemical defenses against natural enemies in harvestmen (Arachnida)

Grant number: 20/05158-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2020 - October 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Rodrigo Hirata Willemart
Grantee:Rodrigo Hirata Willemart
Home Institution: Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades (EACH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: David Sillam-Dussès ; Felipe Malheiros Gawryszewski ; José Roberto Machado Cunha da Silva ; Luis Fernando Garcia ; Marcos Ryotaro Hara ; Mariana Dutra Fogaça ; Miriam Sannomiya ; Pedro Ismael da Silva Junior ; Tiago Falótico

Abstract

Animal defenses are often studied as a coherent and functional group of mechanisms that work against multiple predators, but that is usually not the case. Not much is known on the possibility specific defensive mechanisms are used against specific predators and that distinct defensive mechanisms have distinct efficiencies against different predators. Another unexplored aspect is the importance of habituation and memory in anti-predatory behavior, that being extremely relevant for potentially showing the relevance of the ability of learning in prey evolution. Finally, knowledge on the possibility that cuticular chemicals and exocrine glands can play a role against pathogens. Harvestmen (Arachnida) allow to investigate all of these subjects that are of high zoological, ecological, evolutionary and mechanistic interests. We intend to study these topics under the umbrella of protection against natural enemies. We will use behavioral analyses, histology, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, proteomics, chemical and physical analyses and a meta-analysis. The project will be conducted in collaboration with 6 graduate students and 11 PhD researchers, of which three from outside Brazil. (AU)

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