Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1445–1455 | Cite as

Ecdysteroids fromPycnogonum litorale (Arthropoda, Pantopoda) act as chemical defense againstCarcinus maenas (Crustacea, Decapoda)

  • K-H Tomaschko


Pycnogonum litorale (Ström) is unpalatable to the common shore crabCarcinus maenas, a generalist predator in the pycnogonid's habitat. A feeding bioassay reveals that the crabs are deterred by ecdysteroids that occur in high levels in all developmental stages ofP. litorale. The total ecdysteroids in the pycnogonids reach 5.9×10−4 M. The 20-hydroxyecdysone 22-acetate (20E22A), which is the predominant ecdysteroid in the pycnogonids, and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), the arthropod molting hormone, were tested for their antifeedant effect onC. maenas. When contained in food pellets in homogeneous concentrations, 20E and 20E22A significantly reduced food consumption at 1.25×10−4 and 5.0×10−4 molar levels, respectively. The present results demonstrate for the first time chemical defense in arthropods in a marine predator-prey relationship. Furthermore, they provide evidence that ES contained in one animal can act as feeding deterrents on another animal.

Key Words

Pycnogonids Pycnogonum litorale Pantopoda Crustacea Carcinus maenas ecdysteroids 20-hydroxyecdysone 20-hydroxyecdysone 22-acetate chemical defense predator-prey interactions 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • K-H Tomaschko
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung Allgemeine ZoologieUniversität UlmUlmGermany

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