Photos from the Field: Anti-Herbivore Defenses in Cecropia
Latteman, T. A., Mead, J. E., DuVall, M. A., Bunting, C. C. and Bevington, J. M. (2014), Differences in Anti-Herbivore Defenses in Non-Myrmecophyte and Myrmecophyte Cecropia Trees. Biotropica, 46: 652–656. doi: 10.1111/btp.12163
Little is known about antiherbivore defenses in non-myrmecophyte Cecropia trees. We compare two non-myrmecophyte Cecropia—Cecropia sciadophylla and Cecropia tacuna—with Cecropia membranacea, a myrmecophyte. High levels of chemical defenses in young leaves and physical toughness of mature leaves compensate for the absence of mutualistic ants in C. sciadophylla. Some C. tacuna trees produce trichilia and Müllerian bodies suggesting it has lost a mutualism with ants.