Aphid Defense Breached

Milkweed Aphid

Milkweed Aphid

The Milkweed Aphid, Aphis nerii, sequesters toxic cardenolides from its host plant. The cardenolides make it toxic to most predators. Aphis nerii advertises its toxicity with a bright yellow color that is visible against the green background. The yellow color sends predators a message, “I am toxic. Eating me will make you sick.” Most lady beetles require only a single experience to learn to leave Aphis nerii alone, but not Hippodamia variegata. Hippodamia variegata is able to avoid the toxic effects of the cardenolides and feed on Aphis nerii. The variegated Lady Beetle is native to Europe but since has achieved a global distribution. We don’t know how it avoids the toxins in Aphis nerii.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s