Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2005 Sep 20;102(38):13508-12.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0505725102. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Reproductive Benefits Derived From Defensive Plant Alkaloid Possession in an Arctiid Moth (Utetheisa Ornatrix)

Affiliations
Free PMC article

Reproductive Benefits Derived From Defensive Plant Alkaloid Possession in an Arctiid Moth (Utetheisa Ornatrix)

Marta L del Campo et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The moth Utetheisa ornatrix (family Arctiidae) depends on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) for defense. It sequesters the toxins as a larva from its food plants (Crotalaria species: family Fabaceae) and retains them through metamorphosis. We report here that PA-possession in the adult female U. ornatrix has a life-shortening effect, suggesting that, by putting the compounds to use, the moth may be incurring a cost. However, PA-possession also induces the female to oviposit at an accelerated rate, so that she does not, by dying earlier, incur a loss in fecundity. We argue that by "compressing" their adult existence into a shorter period, female U. ornatrix may actually accrue benefits.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Adult female (A) and male (B) longevity, plotted as a function of larval diet and mating status. For purposes of presentation, data pertinent to experimental categories iii-vi are lumped as shown (see text). Numbers above columns are sample sizes.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Fecundity plotted as a function of female larval diet and mating status. For purposes of presentation, data pertinent to experimental categories iii-vi are lumped as shown (see text). Numbers above columns are sample sizes.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Daily egg output of mated (+) females (A) and mated (-) females (B) plotted as a function of time (days since emergence from pupa), and of diet of the male partner. Number of females per categories iii, iv, v, and vi were 28, 27, 23, and 25, respectively, for the 13-day period analyzed. Arrows indicate date of mating.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Daily egg output of virgin females, plotted as a function of time (days since emergence from pupa) and female diet. Sample sizes for the (+) and (-) females were 30 and 29, respectively, for the 13-day period analyzed.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Egg viability, plotted as a function of the parental categories shown. Numbers above columns are sample sizes.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 4 articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback