Coevolutionary Race Continues: Butterfly Larval Adaptation to Plant Trichomes

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Jan 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4172, pp. 175-176
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4172.175


Plant trichomes can act as efjective defenses against herbivores, but at least one species of ithomiid butterfly, Mechanitis isthmia, has evolved a unique adaptation for avoiding the trichomes on its spiny Solanum hosts. The larvae are gregarious all together they spin a fine silk scaffolding over the tops of the spines on which they can crawl and feed in safety.