Generalist caterpillar prey are more palatable than specialists for the generalist predator Iridomyrmex humilis.

Abstract:

:Experiments are described which test the hypothesis that more host-specific species of caterpillars should be less aceptable to a generalist predator than polyphagous species. Caterpillars of all species were tested in paired choice tests with the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis. Experiments were replicated ten times, videotaped and later analyzed. Brightly colored specialist species (normally considered to be aposematic) were clearly the least palatable, while more cryptic specialists were also significantly less acceptable than generalists overall. Leaf-tying species were considered separately; all were highly palatable independent of host range. The results indicate that among caterpillars that do not construct leaf shelters, those with a wide post range are more acceptable than those with a narrow host range. This is consistent with the notion that generalist predators provide selection pressure favoring narrow host range in their herbivorous prey.

journal_name

Oecologia

journal_title

Oecologia

authors

Bernays EA,Cornelius ML

doi

10.1007/BF00384324

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1989-05-01 00:00:00

pages

427-30

issue

3

eissn

0029-8549

issn

1432-1939

journal_volume

79

pub_type

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