The bitter end: Primate avoidance of caterpillar-infested trees in a central amazon flooded forest

Allana Ataide Negreiros, Adrian M. Pohlit, Fabricio Baccaro, Héctor H.F. Koolen, Adrian A. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Animal–plant interactions are often mediated by chemical compounds. It has been widely reported that herbivore damage to plants induces chemical defenses which may then affect subsequent interactions with both invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores. Our study investigated the effects of the interaction between larvae of an unidentified nymphalid butterfly and the tanimbuca tree (Buchenavia ochroprumna Eichl.; Combretaceae) on subsequent folivory by a primate, the golden-backed uacari (Cacajao ouakary (Spix, 1823); Pitheciidae). Primate-feeding observations, records of the extent of nymphalid – B. ochroprumna interactions, and tree distribution occurred in Jaú National Park, Amazonas State, Brazil. The values of Ivlev’s electivity index showed that C. ouakary strongly rejected trees infested by caterpillars (−0.68), whereas non-infested trees were highly selected by them (+0.84). Given this behavior, we suggest that C. ouakary may be deterred by (i) caterpillars, (ii) change in leaf chemical composition induced by caterpillars, or (iii) a combination of both.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Avoidance
  • Buchenavia ochroprumna
  • Cacajao ouakary
  • Igapó
  • Induction
  • Lepidopteran herbivory
  • Secondary compounds


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