Behavioral Sabotage of Plant Defenses by Insect Folivores

David E Dussourd
Annual Review of Entomology 2017 January 31, 62: 15-34
Plant susceptibility to herbivore attack is determined not just by the suite of defenses present in different tissues of the plant, but also by the capabilities of the herbivore for tolerating, circumventing, or disarming the defenses. This article reviews the elaborate behaviors exhibited by leaf-chewing insects that appear to function specifically to deactivate hostplant defenses. Shortcomings in our understanding and promising areas for future research are highlighted. Behaviors covered include vein cutting, trenching, girdling, leaf clipping, and application of fluids from exocrine glands. Many of these behaviors have a widespread distribution, having evolved independently in multiple insect lineages. Insects utilizing the behaviors include significant agricultural, horticultural, and forestry pests, as well as numerous species important in natural ecosystems. Behavioral, ecological, and phylogenetic studies have documented the importance of the behaviors and their ancient history, but the molecular analysis of how the behaviors affect plant physiology has scarcely begun.

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