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Sequestration of secondary plant chemicals and brightly colored bodies occur in a number of unpalatable insects. The utilization of toxic plant chemicals has been proposed as a strategy of chemical defense, while aposematic coloration may advertise unpalatability. Here, we tested for the presence of aristolochic acid I in leaves of Aristolochia pilosa and female bodies of Mapeta xanthomelas, obtained from larvae feeding on the plant, using high performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The presence of aristolochic acid I in females of this conspicuous diurnal moth, an oligophagous herbivore of Aristolochia, is the first report of sequestration of aristolochic acids by an herbivore other than a species of Papilionidae.

Citation

Juliana Durán, Giovanny Fagua, Jorge Robles, Elizabeth Gil. Sequestration of aristolochic acid I from Aristolochia pilosa by Mapeta xanthomelas Walker, 1863. Journal of chemical ecology. 2012 Oct;38(10):1285-8

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PMID: 22968784

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