Hi Bugs Essay

670 WordsApr 8, 20143 Pages
Ch. 13: Grape phylloxera Insects and plants are in an “evolutionary arms race”. Describe this arms race. What weapons do the plants possess? What weapons do the insects possess? Describe one insect-plant arms race. Why does the analogy with an arms race apply to this? Who was C.V. Riley? * Evolution is an escalating arms race between insects and plants. Essentially, it is a continuing process of evolving between insects and plants. In order to achieve evolutionary fitness, any given organism must: eat and grow; keep from being eaten; and reproduce itself. Given these goals, plants and insects are locked in an evolutionary arms race because plant-feeding insects need to eat and this opposes plants that are protecting themselves from being eaten. As a result, plants evolve defenses against insects and insects evolve ways to circumvent these defenses. * Plants have thorns, hairs, and other physical defenses to help protect them. But their most dominant defenses are biochemical defenses. They contain toxic or bad-tasting chemicals as defense chemicals. Plants’ secondary substances can be positive to insects (ie. to attract pollinators), but they are typically considered “chemical warfare” agents against insects. These substances affect the physiological functions of animals and specifically, insects. * Herbivorous insects can circumvent plant defenses by coming up with enzymes that detoxify the chemicals from the plant or storing the chemical in their bodies in a place where it can do no harm. * An example of the insect-plant arms race is the destruction of the grape vines by the grape phylloxera, the attempts by C.V. Riley (and others) to create hybrid plants to protect against the phylloxera, and the subsequent development of resistance by the phylloxera. * The analogy of the arms race applies to this because during the scourge of the

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