With a kind of bad breath, the caterpillars of the tobacco hornworm protect from being eaten by wolf spiders.
A portion of the nicotine from the tobacco leaves gelange in the insect blood and will be exhaled through small openings in the skin, so to speak, report biologists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena in the “Proceedings” of the U.S. Academy of Sciences ( PNAS). That was a foul-smelling warning to predators that deters spiders.
caterpillars on nicotine-free tobacco plants spiders devour well, as those in which the gene has been switched off for a given enzyme digestion. As a result, the butterfly junior was hardly to no malodorous warning from the researchers write.
The team led by Ian Thomas Baldwin researched for years the caterpillars of the tobacco hornworm. The butterfly is found in North and South America and feeds mainly on tobacco plants. The researchers noticed that at night especially many caterpillars were destroyed when they sat on by genetic engineering nicotine-made tobacco plants. Wolf spiders of the species Camptocosa parallela they had eaten.(AP)