It's the first bites that count: Survival of first-instar monarchs on milkweeds

Zalucki, M. P., Malcolm, S. B., Paine, T. D., Hanlon, C. C., Brower, L. P. and Clarke, A. R. (2001) It's the first bites that count: Survival of first-instar monarchs on milkweeds. Austral Ecology, 26 5: 547-555. doi:10.1046/j.1442-9993.2001.01132.x

Author Zalucki, M. P.
Malcolm, S. B.
Paine, T. D.
Hanlon, C. C.
Brower, L. P.
Clarke, A. R.
Title It's the first bites that count: Survival of first-instar monarchs on milkweeds
Journal name Austral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1442-9985
Publication date 2001-01-01
Year available 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1046/j.1442-9993.2001.01132.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 26
Issue 5
Start page 547
End page 555
Total pages 9
Editor M. Bull
Place of publication Carlton, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Science Asia
Language eng
Subject C1
270504 Invertebrate Biology
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract Mortality of first instars is generally very high, but variable, and is caused by many factors, including physical and chemical plant characters, weather and natural enemies. Here, a summary of detailed field-based studies of the early-stage survival of a specialist lepidopteran herbivore is presented. First-instar larvae of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, a milkweed specialist, generally grew faster and survived better on leaves when latex flow was reduced by partial severance of the leaf petiole. The outcome depended on milkweed species, and was related to the amount of latex produced, as well as other plant characters, such as leaf hairs, microclimate and concentration of secondary metabolites. Even for a so-called 'milkweed specialist', larval performance and survival appears to be related to the concentration of cardenolides produced by the plants (a potential chemical defence against herbivory). This case study of monarchs and milkweeds highlights the need for field-based experiments to assess the effect of plant characters on the usually poor survival of early instar phytophagous insects. Few similar studies concerning the performance and survival of first-instar, eucalypt-specific herbivores have been conducted, but this type of study is considered essential based on the findings obtained using D. plexippus.
Keyword Ecology
Danaus Plexippus
Growth Rate
Neonate Larvae
Plant Defence
Eucalyptus Secondary Metabolites
Vein-cutting Behavior
Cardenolide Content
Plant Defense
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:17:48 EST