Plants and Herbivorous Animals

  • John L. Cloudsley-Thompson
Part of the Adaptations of Desert Organisms book series (DESERT ORGAN.)


Plants have a variety of defensive mechanisms which help to reduce damage from herbivores. These may be physical, chemical, physiological or biotic: they vary both quantitatively and qualitatively among and within species. Many plants also show daily, seasonal and annual fluctuations in resistance, both within individuals, as well as in ontogenetic changes. Synchrony between the quality of plant food and peak feeding on it by herbivores is often critical in determining whether the abundance of herbivores increases or decreases. In arid regions, outbursts of plant growth result from irregular precipitation. Vertebrates usually build up metabolic food reserves to withstand lean periods, while invertebrates enter into diapause.


Arid Region Desert Plant Herbivorous Animal Creosote Bush Chemical Deterrence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Cloudsley-Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology (Darwin Building)University College LondonLondonUK

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