2021-10-13

The study found that birds try to avoid plants with toxic insects

By yqqlm yqqlm

The study found that birds try to avoid plants with toxic insects

to do this, scientists exposed the larvae of cinnabar moth characterized by bright yellow and black stripes to the predation of wild birds at the same time. The difference is that they were placed on dandelion and ragweed, a non-toxic plant. Dandelion is not the natural host of cinnabar. Experiments show that when experienced predators exist in large numbers in the population, the survival rate of the two target types on ragweed is higher than that on dandelion

The study found that birds try to avoid plants with toxic insects(1)

an adult cinnabar moth on the stem of dandelion

scientists are also interested in whether birds use the bright yellow flowers of dandelion as a clue to avoid. They tested it by picking spikes from Gynostemma pentaphyllum and nailing them to thorns, and then recording the survival rate of the target on two plants. The results show that cinnabar caterpillars have truly recognizable striped yellow and black appearance, but they only live and feed on ragweed. Ragweed itself has unique yellow flowers. Birds understand the hint that the insects in this grass may be dangerous, so they can avoid approaching toxic prey. Avoiding whole plants is more effective than individual caterpillars making decisions about whether to eat or not

said co-author Professor Nick Scott Samuel of the school of psychological sciences. “Our results show that insect herbivores that specialize in easy identification of host plants are better protected from predation, which has nothing to do with their appearance warning signals.”

84fbc499b5678ca - The study found that birds try to avoid plants with toxic insects

Professor Innes Cuthill, who conceived the study, added: “Interestingly, any camouflaged caterpillar living on the same plant also benefits from birds’ learning vigilance against ragweed, although they can eat it completely. Our results provide a starting point for a new discussion on how toxicity initially evolved in insect prey and under what conditions warning colors were or were not favorable. “