, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 295–300 | Cite as

Evolution of exocrine chemical defense in leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

  • J. M. Pasteels
  • M. Rowell-Rahier
  • J. C. Braekman
  • D. Daloze
  • S. Duffey
Multi-Author Review Insect Chemical Ecology


In this review we speculate on possible scenarios for the evolution of the very high diversity in chemical compounds liberated by exocrine glands of adults Chrysomelidae. Shift in host plant affinities and subsequent adaptation of the beetles to the plant toxins strongly influence the nature of the beetles' chemical defense.

Key words

Cardenolides dipeptides isoxazolinone glucoside pyrrolizidine alkaloids host plant influence toxin sequestration 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Baldwin, J. E., Haber, S. B., Hookins, C., and Kruse, L. L., Synthesis of unsaturated amino acids. J. org. Chem.42 (1977) 1239–1241.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baxter, R. L., Hanley, A. B., and Chan, H. W.-S., Identification of L-nitrosuccinate as an intermediate in the fungal biosynthesis of 3-nitropropianoic acid. J. chem. Soc. chem. Comm. (1988) 757–758.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brown, K., Insetos aposematicos: indicatores naturais de plantas medicinais. Cienc. Cult. Sao Paulo32 (1980) 189–200.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Curio, E., The ethology of predation. Springer Verlag, Berlin 1976.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Daloze, D., Braekman, J. C., and Pasteels, J. M., New polyoxygenated steroidal glucosides fromChrysolina hyperici (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Tetrahaedron Lett.26 (1985) 2311–2314.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daloze, D., Braekman, J. C., and Pasteels, J. M., A toxic dipeptide from the glands of the Colorado beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata, Say). Science233 (1986) 221–223.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Deroe, C., Répartition et ultrastructure des glandes défensive des Chrysomelidae adultes (Insecta: Coleoptera). Thèse de doctorat, Université Libre de Bruxelles 1983.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Deroe, C., and Pasteels, J. M., Defensive mechanisms against predation in the Colorado beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say). Arch. Biol. (Bruxelles)88 (1977) 289–304.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Deroe, C., and Pasteels, J. M., Distribution of adult defense glands in chrysomelids (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and its significance in the evolution of defense mechanisms within the family. J. chem. Ecol.8 (1982) 67–82.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Edmunds, M., Defence in animals. Longman, New York 1974.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Feeny, P., Plant apparency and chemical defense, in: Biochemical Interactions between Plants and Insects, Rec. Adv. Phytochem. 10th Edn. Eds I. M. Wallace and R. L. Mansell. Plenum, New York 1976.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ferguson, J. E., and Metcalf, R. L., Cucurbitacins. Plant-derived defense compounds for Diabroticites (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J. chem. Ecol.11 (1985) 311–317.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Garcia, J., Hankins, W. G., and Rusiniak, K. W., Behavioral regulation of the milieu interne in man and rat. Science185 (1974) 824–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Howard, D. F., Phillips, D. W., Jones, T. H., and Blum, M. S., Anthraquinones and anthrones: occurrence and defensive function in a chrysomelid beetle. Naturwissenschaften69 (1982) 91–92.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jolivet, P., Selection trophique chez les Clytrinae, Cryptocephalinae et Chlamisiuae (Comptosoma) et les lamprosomaticlae (Cyclica) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Acta zool. path. Antwerp.70 (1978) 167–200.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Luckner, M., Secondary Metabolism in Microorganisms, Plants and Animals. Springer Verlag, Berlin 1984.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Noirot, C., and Quennedey, A., Fine structure of insect epidermal glands. A. rev. Ent.19 (1974) 61–81.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pasteels, J. M., and Daloze, D., Cardiac glycosides in the defensive secretion of Chrysomelid beetles: Evidence for their production by the insects. Science197 (1977) 70–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pasteels, J. M., Breakman, J. C., Daloze, D., and Ottinger, R., Chemical defense in chrysomelid larvae and adults. Tetrahedron Lett.38 (1982) 1891–1897.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pasteels, J. M., Gregoire, J. C., and Rowell-Rahier, M., Chemical defense in arthropods. A. Rev. Ent.28 (1983) 263–289.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pasteels, J. M., Rowell-Rahier, M., Braekman, J. C., and Daloze, D., Chemical defences in leaf beetles and their larvae: The ecological, evolutionary and taxonomic significance. Biochem. Syst. Ecol.12 (1984) 395–406.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pasteels, J. M., Braekman, J. C., and Daloze, D., Chemical defense in the Chrysomelidae, in: The Biology of Chrysomelidae. Eds P. Jolivet, T. H. Hsiao and E. Petipierre. Junk, Dordrecht 1988.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pasteels, J. M., Duffey, S., and Rowell-Rahier, M., Toxins in Chrysomelid beetles: Possible evolutionary sequence from de novo synthesis to derivation from food plant chemicals. J. chem. Ecol. (1988) in press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pasteels, J. M., Rowell-Rahier, M., Randoux, T., Braekman, J. C., and Daloze, D., Pyrrolizidine alkaloids of probable host plant origin in the defensive secretion of the leaf beetleOreina cacaliae (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). Ent. exp. appl.49 (1988) 55–58.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pasteels, J. M., Rowell-Rahier, M., and Raupp, M. J., Plant-derived defense in chrysomelid beetles, in: Novel Aspects of Insect-Plant Relationships, pp. 235–272. Ed. P. Barbosa. Wiley, New York 1988.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rhoades D. F., and Cates R. G., Toward a general theory of plant antiherbivore chemistry, in: Biochemical Interactions between Plants and Insects. Rec. Adv. Phytochem. 10th Edn. Eds J. M. Wallace and R. L. Mansell. Plenum, New York 1976.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Rothschild, M., Secondary plant substances and warning coloration in insects, in: Insect-Plant Relationships, Symp. R. ent. Soc. London. Ed. H. F. van Emden. Blackwell, Oxford 1972.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Suzuki, K., Life form and its relationship to phylogeny in higher taxa of Chrysomelidae. Chrysomela18 (1988) 9–10.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tinbergen, L., The natural control of insects in pinewoods. I. Factors influencing the intensity of predation by songbirds. Arch. neer. zool.13 (1960) 265–336.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Van Oycke, S., Braekman, J. C., Daloze, D., and Pasteels, J. M., Cardenolide biosynthesis in chrysomelid beetles. Experientia43 (1987) 460–462.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Van Oycke, S., Randoux, T., Braekman, J. C., Daloze, D., and Pasteels, J. M., New cardenolide glycosides from the defense glands of chrysolinina beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Bull. Soc. chim. Belg.97 (1988) 297–311.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Pasteels
    • 1
  • M. Rowell-Rahier
    • 2
  • J. C. Braekman
    • 3
  • D. Daloze
    • 3
  • S. Duffey
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie Animale et CellulaireUniversity of BrusselsBrussels(Belgium)
  2. 2.Zoologisches, Institut der UniversitätBasel(Switzerland)
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Chimie Bio-organiqueUniversity of BrusselsBrussels(Belgium)
  4. 4.Dept of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations