Effects of linear furanocoumarins on an adapted specialist insect (Papilio polyxenes)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract. 1. Examination of phytochemical literature reveals that a disproportionately large number of hostplants for species in the genus Papilio Section II, and in particular the machaon complex, contain linear furanocoumarins. 2. Although the linear furanocoumarin xanthotoxin is known to be toxic to generalist lepidopterous larvae, it failed to affect adversely the growth and survivorship of Papilio polyxenes, a member of the P.machaon complex that feeds primarily on Umbelliferae containing furanocoumarins, when incorporated into an artificial diet. 3. On the contrary, growth rate and weight gain were significantly improved in the presence of xanthotoxin. 4. It is proposed, based on this experimental evidence and on hostplant utilization patterns, that furanocoumarins play a significant role in the behavioural and biochemical adaptation of Papilio species to their umbelliferous hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of linear furanocoumarins on an adapted specialist insect (Papilio polyxenes)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this