Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1979–1996

Trade-Off Between Chemical and Biotic Antiherbivore Defense in the South East Asian Plant Genus Macaranga

  • Gero Eck
  • Brigitte Fiala
  • Karl Eduard Linsenmair
  • Rosli Bin Hashim
  • Peter Proksch
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1012234702403

Cite this article as:
Eck, G., Fiala, B., Linsenmair, K.E. et al. J Chem Ecol (2001) 27: 1979. doi:10.1023/A:1012234702403

Abstract

The plant genus Macaranga is known for its manifold mutualistic associations with ants. The plants provide food for the ants and in turn get protection from herbivores. Depending on the strength of the plant–ant interaction, the plant's investment in ants and the biotic defense derived from them is more or less effective. We conducted a comparative study on tannin content in 12 Macaranga species that were selected based on their associations with ants (three nonmyrmecophytes and nine myrmecophytes, three of which start their ontogeny as nonmyrmecophytes). Different developmental stages were investigated in three Macaranga species. Extracts of every individual plant analyzed for tannins were also tested for their effects on larval growth employing larvae of the common cutworm (Spodoptera littoralis). The studied Macaranga species differed significantly in their tannin contents as well as in the effects of their leaf extracts on the growth of S. littoralis larvae. A correlation analysis shows a connection between tannin contents and larval growth. High tannin contents and, thus more effective chemical defense, were observed in nonmyrmecophytic Macaranga species associated only facultatively with ants as compared to obligate myrmecophytes. Our study supports the hypothesis of a trade-off between chemical and biotic defense in the genus Macaranga.

Ant–plant associationsbiotic defensechemical defenseherbivoryMacarangatannins

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gero Eck
    • 1
  • Brigitte Fiala
    • 2
  • Karl Eduard Linsenmair
    • 2
  • Rosli Bin Hashim
    • 3
  • Peter Proksch
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmazeutische BiologieHeinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und TropenbiologieBayrische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Biozentrum, Am HublandWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia