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Chemical defense in plants and insects in neotropical environments

Grant number: 11/17708-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2012 - March 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Jose Roberto Trigo
Grantee:Jose Roberto Trigo
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Daniela Rodrigues ; Eduardo Leite Borba ; Lucas Augusto Kaminski ; Paulo Cesar Muniz de Lacerda Miranda ; Rodrigo Cogni


Plants and herbivores have been shaped by strong selective pressures exerted by their natural enemies, which may be responsible for the development of a vast array of defenses in these organisms. To compensate their immobility plants have evolved particular strategies to defend themselves against these enemies. Many kinds of plant defenses are common in nature, as physical (such as non glandular tricomas, spines, and tough leaves), toxic and distasteful secondary compounds, and the attraction of natural enemies of herbivorous insects via rewards or chemical cues. Among herbivorous insects several strategies are utilized to avoid the attack of predators and parasitoids: camouflage, shelters, morphological (e.g. spines, secretions, modified organs) and behavioral defenses (e.g. escape, retaliation), and chemical defenses, which are generally sequestered from host plants. Focusing this approach, the present proposal aims to study chemical defenses in neotropical plants and insects. The studies have been developed in the following multitrophic systems: (1) plants belonging to Crotalaria genus (Leguminosae), their specialist herbivore, the arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae) and their predators, (2) Ipomoea carnea fistulosa (Convolvulaceae), their specialist herbivores, the tortoise beetles (Cassidiane: Chrysomelidae), and their predators, egg parasitoids, (3) Asclepias curassavica (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae), their specialist herbivores, the danaine butterfly Danaus erippus (Nymphalidae), and the aphid Aphis nerii (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and (4) several tritrophic interactions among Lycaenidae butteflies, treehoppers and other hemipterans, their host plants, and tending ants. In the three first trophic systems, the main question is how pirrolizidine alkaloids, polyhydroxylated alkaloids and sesquiterpenes, and cardenolides and phenolic compounds, respectively, take part of these interactions. In the latter system, the main interesting point is to study how cuticular hydrocarbons protect the insects, via chemical camouflage, against tending ants. (AU)

Scientific publications (10)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
VERCOSA, DIOMAR; COGNI, RODRIGO; ALVES, MARCOS NOPPER; TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO. The geographical and seasonal mosaic in a plant-herbivore interaction: patterns of defences and herbivory by a specialist and a non-specialist. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 9, OCT 23 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO; MARTINS, CARLOS H. Z.; CUNHA, BEATRIZ P.; SOLFERINI, VERA N. Native or nonnative host plants: What is better for a specialist moth?. Biological Invasions, v. 20, n. 4, p. 849-860, APR 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.
MAGALHAES, ALEXANDRE EDUARDO; ZANINI MARTINS, CARLOS HENRIQUE; VERCOSA, DIOMAR; MASSUDA, KAMILA FERREIRA; TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO. Ants visiting extrafloral nectaries and pyrrolizidine alkaloids may shape how a specialist herbivore feeds on its host plants. ARTHROPOD-PLANT INTERACTIONS, v. 11, n. 5, p. 629-639, OCT 2017. Web of Science Citations: 1.
COGNI, R.; TRIGO, J. R. Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids Negatively Affect a Generalist Herbivore Feeding on the Chemically Protected Legume Crotalaria pallida. Neotropical Entomology, v. 45, n. 3, p. 252-257, JUN 2016. Web of Science Citations: 6.
CARLOS H. Z. MARTINS; JOSÉ R. TRIGO. Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in the Pericopine Moth Scearctia figulina (Erebidae: Arctiinae): Metabolism and Chemical Defense. Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society, v. 27, n. 8, p. 1437-1443, Ago. 2016.
MARTINS, CARLOS H. Z.; CUNHA, BEATRIZ P.; SOLFERINI, VERA N.; TRIGO, JOSE R. Feeding on Host Plants with Different Concentrations and Structures of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids Impacts the Chemical-Defense Effectiveness of a Specialist Herbivore. PLoS One, v. 10, n. 10 OCT 30 2015. Web of Science Citations: 13.
DE OLIVEIRA, MARINA VASCONCELOS; TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO; RODRIGUES, DANIELA. Southern Monarchs do not Develop Learned Preferences for Flowers With Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids. Journal of Chemical Ecology, v. 41, n. 7, p. 662-669, JUL 2015. Web of Science Citations: 4.
MASSUDA, KAMILA FERREIRA; TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO. Hiding in Plain Sight: Cuticular Compound Profile Matching Conceals a Larval Tortoise Beetle in its Host Chemical Cloud. Journal of Chemical Ecology, v. 40, n. 4, p. 341-354, APR 2014. Web of Science Citations: 2.
MORAIS, A. B. B.; BROWN, JR., K. S.; STANTON, M. A.; MASSUDA, K. F.; TRIGO, J. R. Are Aristolochic Acids Responsible for the Chemical Defence of Aposematic Larvae of Battus polydamas (L.) (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)?. Neotropical Entomology, v. 42, n. 6, p. 558-564, DEC 2013. Web of Science Citations: 2.
HOINA, ADAM; ZANINI MARTINS, CARLOS HENRIQUE; TRIGO, JOSE ROBERTO; COGNI, RODRIGO. Preference for high concentrations of plant pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the specialist arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix depends on previous experience. ARTHROPOD-PLANT INTERACTIONS, v. 7, n. 2, p. 169-175, APR 2013. Web of Science Citations: 9.

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