wpe3.jpg (64511 bytes) Caterpillars anticipate plant defense induction by intercepting plant signals!
Corn earworms sense and respond to the plant defense signals jasmonic acid and salicylic acid by increasing production of cytochrome P450s.  These enzymes are important in detoxification of plant toxins.   By eavesdropping on the plant signals, the larvae are able to prepare in advance to process toxic furanocoumarins produced in celery.  Larvae pretreated with the signalling compounds  performed much better when switched to induced plants than larvae that were switched without pretreatment.


Other interesting stuff:

Are terpenes toxic to the plants that make them?

Behaviors that allow caterpillars to minimize ingestion of pressurized terpenes and furanocoumarins