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Cardenolides (Heart Poisons) in a Grasshopper feeding on Milkweeds

Naturevolume 214pages3539 (1967) | Download Citation

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Abstract

A North African grasshopper (Poekilocerus bufonius (Klug 1882) (Pyrgomorphidae)), with warning coloration and which feeds on milkweeds (Asclepiadaceae), contains cardenolides similar to those found in the plant. These heart poisons which, like digitalis, excite nausea and vomiting are found in the insect's body tissues and can also be ejected in solution from its defensive glands. They thus form part of the grasshopper's defence mechanisms.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Organic Chemistry, Basle University

    • J. v. EUW
  2. Department of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University

    • L. FISHELSON
  3. National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London

    • J. A. PARSONS
  4. Department of Organic Chemistry, Basle University

    • T. REICHSTEIN
  5. Ashton, Peterborough

    • MIRIAM ROTHSCHILD

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https://doi.org/10.1038/214035a0

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