Aposematic (warning) Coloration Associated with Thorns in Higher Plants

Aposematic (warning) Coloration Associated with Thorns in Higher Plants Aposematic coloration, a well-known phenomenon in animals, has been given little attention in plants. Here I discuss two types of conspicuousness of thorns which are typical of many plant species: (1) colorful thorns, and (2) white spots, or white and colorful stripes, associated with thorns in leaves and stems. Both types of aposematic coloration predominate the spine system of taxa rich with spiny species—Cacti, the genera Agave, Aloe and Euphorbia. The phenomena have been recorded here in over a thousand species originating in several continents of both the Old and New World. I propose that this is a case of vegetal aposematic coloration analogous to such coloration of poisonous animals, and which communicates between plants and herbivores. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Theoretical Biology Elsevier

Aposematic (warning) Coloration Associated with Thorns in Higher Plants

Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 210 (3) – Jun 7, 2001

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Academic Press
ISSN
0022-5193
eISSN
1095-8541
DOI
10.1006/jtbi.2001.2315
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Aposematic coloration, a well-known phenomenon in animals, has been given little attention in plants. Here I discuss two types of conspicuousness of thorns which are typical of many plant species: (1) colorful thorns, and (2) white spots, or white and colorful stripes, associated with thorns in leaves and stems. Both types of aposematic coloration predominate the spine system of taxa rich with spiny species—Cacti, the genera Agave, Aloe and Euphorbia. The phenomena have been recorded here in over a thousand species originating in several continents of both the Old and New World. I propose that this is a case of vegetal aposematic coloration analogous to such coloration of poisonous animals, and which communicates between plants and herbivores.

Journal

Journal of Theoretical BiologyElsevier

Published: Jun 7, 2001

References

  • Chihuahuan Desert nopaleras: Defaunated big mammal vegetation
    JANZEN, D.H.
  • Ecology of leaf color polymorphism in a tropical forest species: habitat segregation and herbivory
    SMITH, A.P.
  • Plant mimicry: evolutionary constraints
    WILLIAMSON, G.B.

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