Detoxication Enzymes in the Guts of Caterpillars: An Evolutionary Answer to Plant Defenses?

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Science  07 May 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3983, pp. 579-581
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3983.579


Higher activity of midgut microsomal oxidase enzymes in polyphagous than in monophagous species indicates that the natural function of these enzymes is to detoxify natural insecticides present in the larval food plants. Differing strategies of adaptation to plant defenses may partly account for the great diversity of insect herbivores.