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Linking plant genotype, plant defensive chemistry and mammal browsing in a Eucalyptus species

O'Reilly-Wapstra, J ORCID: 0000-0003-4801-4412, McArthur, C and Potts, BM 2004 , 'Linking plant genotype, plant defensive chemistry and mammal browsing in a Eucalyptus species' , Functional Ecology, vol. 18 , pp. 677-684 , doi:

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1. In the field of plant–herbivore interactions a major focus of research is the importance
of herbivores as selective agents on the evolution of plant resistance. Evidence to
support the role of herbivores as selective agents must demonstrate that the intraspecific
variation in plant resistance, and the variation in the plant resistive trait, are under
genetic control. Predominantly, research in this field has concentrated on plant–insect
systems, with much less emphasis on plant–mammal interactions.
2. In a common Eucalyptus species, Eucalyptus globulus (Labill.), variation in resistance
to a mammalian herbivore, Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr, 1792), is under genetic control.
3. In this paper, plants of known genetic stock grown in a common-environment
field trial were used to investigate the plant characteristic responsible for resistance of
E. globulus to T. vulpecula and to determine if there was a genetic basis to variation in
the defensive trait.
4. The results demonstrate that a formylated phloroglucinol compound, sideroxylonal,
is the dominant plant secondary metabolite that determined intake of E. globulus juvenile
coppiced foliage by T. vulpecula, and that this metabolite is under significant genetic
5. These results are discussed in the context of the possible role T. vulpecula may play
as a selective agent on the evolution of resistance in E. globulus.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:O'Reilly-Wapstra, J and McArthur, C and Potts, BM
Keywords: eucalypt, genetic variation, mammalian herbivory, plant defence, plant secondary metabolites
Journal or Publication Title: Functional Ecology
ISSN: 0269-8463
DOI / ID Number:
Additional Information:

BM Potts. The definitive published version is available online at:

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