Sequestration of defenses against predators drives specialized host plant associations in preadapted milkweed bugs (Heteroptera: Lygaeinae)

Georg Petschenka, Rayko Halitschke, Tobias Züst, Anna Roth, Sabrina Stiehler, Linda Tenbusch, Christoph Hartwig, Juan Francisco Moreno Gámez, Robert Trusch, Jürgen Deckert, Kateřina Chalušová, Andreas Vilcinskas & Alice Exnerová
Host plant specialization across herbivorous insects varies dramatically, but while the molecular mechanisms of host-plant adaptations are increasingly known, we often lack a comprehensive understanding of the selective forces that favor specialization. The milkweed bugs (Heteroptera: Lygaeinae) are engaged in ancestrally specialized associations with plants of the Apocynaceae from which they commonly sequester cardiac glycosides for defense, facilitated by resistant Na+/K+-ATPases and adaptations for transport, storage and discharge of toxins. Here, we show that three...
1 citation reported since publication in 2021.
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