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Constitutive or induced defences - how does Eucalyptus globulus defend itself from larval feeding?


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Rapley, L, Allen, GR, Potts, BM and Davies, NW 2008 , 'Constitutive or induced defences - how does Eucalyptus globulus defend itself from larval feeding?' , Chemoecology, vol. 17 , pp. 235-243 , doi: 10.1007/s00049-007-0382-z.

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Following herbivory, induced responses
involving plant secondary metabolites have been reported in
a number of tree species. Although a wide range of plant
secondary metabolites appear to operate as constitutive
plant defences in trees belonging to the Eucalyptus genus,
no induced responses have as yet been reported following
foliar-chewing insect damage. We empirically tested
whether branch defoliation (artificial and larval) of 2-yearold
Eucalyptus globulus Labill. trees altered the abundance
of specific plant secondary metabolites immediately (3
months after initial larval feeding) and 8 months after the
cessation of larval feeding. Metabolites assayed, included
essential oils, polyphenolic groups and foliar wax compounds
and in all cases their abundance was not significantly
altered by defoliation. However, the level of foliar
tannins after 3 months of larval feeding did display a trend
that suggested elevated levels as the result of defoliation,
though this trend was not evident 8 months later, indicating
that, if real, the response was a rapid and not a delayed
induced response. The level of foliar tannins was also negatively
correlated to both average larval survival and average
percentage branch defoliation, suggesting that foliar tannins
may operate as toxins and/or anti-feedants to M. privata larval

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Rapley, L and Allen, GR and Potts, BM and Davies, NW
Keywords: Plant-insect interactions – leaf chemistry – induced and constitutive plant defences – Lepidoptera – Geometridae – Mnesampela privata – Myrtaceae – Eucalyptus globulus
Journal or Publication Title: Chemoecology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00049-007-0382-z
Additional Information:

BM Potts. The original publication is available at

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