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Latest Herbivore Stories

Tobacco Plants Advertise They Are Ready To Attack Leafhoppers
2012-05-23 10:25:32

Like blood-sucking insects, herbivores evaluate their host's readiness for defense Tobacco: actually pretty bad food for leafhoppers Empoasca sp. is not a typical pest of wild tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata). When this plant grows in its natural habitats in North America, however, it is attacked by tobacco hornworm larvae (Manduca sexta). This specialist insect is resistant to the toxic nicotine, which the plant produces as a defense against its enemies. When researchers from the Max...

Evolution In An Island, The Secret For A Longer Life
2012-04-25 07:50:24

ICP researchers published today in the 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B' one of the first fossil-based evidences supporting the evolutionary theory of ageing, which predicts that species evolving in low mortality and resource-limited ecosystems tend to be more long-lived. The study shows that the tooth height of endemic insular mammals is an indicator of longevity, and questions the use of this morphological characteristic as an exclusive indicator to infer the diet of fossil species,...

Omnivores Play For Both Teams
2012-04-17 10:34:47

Just because a bear prefers the taste of flesh today doesn´t mean it has always been so. A new study has investigated the previous eating habits of mammals, particularly omnivores, to discover how their eating habits have evolved. Large cats, such as lions and tigers are known carnivores, eating meat almost exclusively. On the other hand, other mammals such as cows, deer, and other livestock are herbivores, eating bark, grass, and fruit. Eating a mixture of plants and meat, however,...

Everything Within Balance: As Predators Decrease, Ecosystems Suffer
2012-04-10 12:37:03

As predators dwindle in the Northern Hemisphere, populations of their would-be prey begin to flourish. A new survey suggests such large populations are harmful to their specific ecosystems. Scientists from Oregon State University examined 42 studies from the past 50 years and found that as wolves disappear from the northern United States, Canada, and Alaska, populations of moose and deer swell. The resulting boom in moose and deer populations can be harmful to other living things in the...

2011-10-04 12:15:46

As climate change causes temperatures to rise, the number of herbivores will decrease, affecting the human food supply, according to new research from the University of Toronto. In a paper being published this month in American Naturalist, a team of ecologists describe how differences in the general responses of plants and herbivores to temperature change produces predictable declines in herbivore populations. This decrease occurs because herbivores grow more quickly at high temperatures...

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2011-08-09 07:35:00

How rodents survive arms race with toxic plants they eat Life is tough for woodrats in deserts of the U.S. Southwest. There are few plants for food, and those plants produce poison to deter rodents, insects and other animals. A new University of Utah study shows how certain woodrats put themselves on a diet to avoid poisoning: They sample a smorgasbord of toxic plants, eat smaller meals, increase time between meals and drink more water if it is available. "For decades, we have been trying to...

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2011-07-27 05:55:00

Nibbling by herbivores can have a greater impact on the width of tree rings than climate, new research has found. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology, could help increase the accuracy of the tree ring record as a way of estimating past climatic conditions. Many factors in addition to climate are known to affect the tree ring record, including attack from parasites and herbivores, but determining how important these other factors have...

2011-07-15 09:21:00

Impacts include increases in infectious diseases and invasive species, as well as changes in soil, water, vegetation, and the atmosphere STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth," a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth's terrestrial, freshwater, and marine...

2011-07-12 12:55:57

Mammal's breath gives aphids cue to drop from plants to safety As soon as aphids feeding on a plant sense the heat and humidity in a mammal's breath, they drop to safety before they are inadvertently ingested together with the plant the animal is feeding on. These findings by Moshe Gish and colleagues, from the University of Haifa in Israel, show both how accurate aphids are at detecting this threat and how effective their escape behavior is. The work was just published online in Springer's...

2011-06-20 23:52:09

LMU chemists design a route for synthesis of loline alkaloids LMU chemists led by Professor Dirk Trauner have developed a concise and efficient method for the synthesis of the alkaloid loline and related compounds. Loline alkaloids are a biologically interesting group of natural products, which have unusual physicochemical and pharmacological characteristics, but are as of yet poorly understood. They are produced by fungal symbionts that infect weeds and forage grasses, and act as deterrents...