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Aposematic Insects: The Key To New Defense Mechanisms And Possible Cures Against Disease.

715 words - 3 pages

Aposematic insects can be essential to the discovery of plants with biologically active chemical compounds. The reason being that: a vast majority of these insects have been located on the leaves of biologically active plants. In other words, one can conclude that aposematic insects may be consuming these plants. To test whether aposematic insects are consuming biologically active plants, one can test for chemicals foreign to the insect's anatomy. Put in another way, one can locate plants with active chemical compounds through the composition of aposematic insects.
Non-aposematic insects could also be found on the same biologically active plants as aposematic insects due to competition. According to an experiment conducted to illustrate bio-prospecting through aposematic insects, non-aposematic insects were found on 80% of plants with active chemical compounds and 100% on inactive plants, whereas aposematic insects were found on 90% of the active plants and 40% on the other. From this data, one can conclude that non-aposematic and aposematic insects were competing because one of the populations dominated the other. Like the gerbils of the sand, non-aposematic insects may prefer a habitat where the amount of competition is minimized; in other words, they may be foragers.
Although competition between the insect populations may be possible, it is also possible that non-aposematic and aposematic insects may be co-existing. The reason being that: the secondary metabolites found in the active plants may be beneficial to both populations. Since a metabolite is a substance formed for the process of metabolism, non-aposematic insects may not consume active plants as much as aposematic insects because they have stronger metabolic systems due to their non-toxic nature. In other words, non-aposematic insects may also be found on biologically active plants because they are generalists (survive by consuming multiple resources) and/or because they indirectly effect aposematic insects by consuming the active plants that have fewer chemical compounds; hence, a type of co-existence between the populations.
Pseudo-aposematic insects may also be found on active plants. The presence of these insects on these plants is due to survival. Since pseudo-aposematic insects...

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