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Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 1047–1051 | Cite as

Chemical Defense as a Condition-Dependent Trait in Harvestmen

  • Taís M. Nazareth
  • Daniela B. Sudatti
  • Glauco Machado
Rapid Communication

Abstract

The expression of costly traits often depends on the amount of food available to the individuals. Chemical defenses are costly, thus their production should be condition-dependent. Here, we tested the hypothesis that an increase in food availability and an acetate-supplemented diet will increase the production of chemical defenses by the harvestman Magnispina neptunus, which releases alkylated benzoquinones biosynthesized using acetate as a precursor. We manipulated the diet of the individuals and created four experimental groups: well-fed with acetate, well-fed without acetate, poorly-fed with acetate, and poorly-fed without acetate. Well-fed individuals produced secretions with higher mass and concentration of benzoquinones than poorly-fed individuals, but we detected no significant effect of the acetate supplement. Thus, the production of benzoquinones is condition-dependent, and even short periods of dietary restriction may make individuals more vulnerable to predators, imposing fitness consequences to chemically-protected arthropods that biosynthesize their own defensive compounds.

Keywords

Benzoquinone Costs Dietary restriction Food availability Parental care Arachnida Opiliones 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank S. Rodrigues and R. Crespo for logistical support at LaReMN-UFF, A.H. Januário, A. González, M.F.K. Becker, B.A. Buzatto, N. Chaline, A. Arab, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript, and FAPESP (2011/50800-8, 2012/50229-1) and CNPq (306550/2014-8) for financial support.

Supplementary material

10886_2016_749_MOESM1_ESM.doc (479 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 479 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taís M. Nazareth
    • 1
  • Daniela B. Sudatti
    • 2
  • Glauco Machado
    • 1
  1. 1.LAGE do Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal FluminenseNiteróiBrazil

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