Video: Plant defenses turn caterpillar pests into cannibals

tb caterpillar superJumbo e

If you’re a hungry caterpillar and you’ve got a choice between eating a plant or another caterpillar, which do you chose?

You pick your fellow caterpillar, scientists have found — if the plant is noxious enough.

In a study published … in Nature Ecology and Evolution, scientists sprayed tomato plants with a substance that induces a defensive response — a suite of nasty chemicals — and found that caterpillars became cannibals instead of eating the plant.

“The plant rearranges the menu for the caterpillar and makes other caterpillars the optimal choice,” said John Orrock, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Wisconsin — Madison who led the study.

His team’s findings support a growing body of research suggesting that plant defenses are far more sophisticated than we’ve thought. Plants can’t run or hide, but they possess powerful strategies capable of altering the minds of herbivores that try to eat them.

[Richard Karban, an ecologist who studies the interactions between plants and herbivores at the University of California, Davis and was not involved in the study] said he thinks better understanding of these interactions could one day make us less dependent on pesticides….

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The Very Hungry Caterpillars That Turned to Cannibalism

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend