Toxicity of angular furanocoumarins to swallowtail butterflies: Escalation in a coevolutionary arms race?

May Berenbaum, Paul Feeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Xanthotoxin, a linear furanocoumarin occurring in many plants of the family Umbelliferae, is not appreciably toxic to the umbellifer-feeding larvae of Papilio polyxenes (Lepidoptera; Papilionidae), whereas angelicin, an angular furanocoumarin found only in a few relatively advanced tribes of the Umbelliferae, reduces growth rate and fecundity. The biosynthetic pathway leading to angular attachment of the furan ring may thus have been a response within the Umbelliferae to selective pressures exerted by specialized herbivores that had adapted to feeding on linear furanocoumarins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-929
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume212
Issue number4497
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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