Patterns of resource use by milkweed insects in Sinai

  • SM Elbanna
  • SM Zalat
  • F Gilbert
  • S Elliott
  • DM Shuker
Keywords: Asclepias, Gomphocarpus, aposematism, cardenolides, coevolution, insect-plant interactions, specialisation

Abstract

Plant morphology and defensive chemistry are related to the insect community of herbivores on Gomphocarpus sinaicus (Boiss.) (Apocynaceae) in Sinai (Egypt). There appears to be significant variation among individual plants in the components of their chemical defences. The different components of the community respond differently to plant characters; plant defence appears to be an important determinant of the relative abundances of the insect species. The data showed an indications of different relationships of the insect herbivores to levels of
chemical defences, especially aphids. While weevil and bug densities covaried, those of aphids varied more independently, and possibly inversely. The community is compared with the much better known North American herbivore community on plants of the sister-genus Asclepias.
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eISSN: 1110-6859