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A new theory of MHC evolution: beyond selection on the immune genes

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Abstract

Foraging animals use diverse cues to locate resources. Common foraging cues have visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile or gustatory characteristics. Here, we show a foraging herbivore using infrared (IR) radiation from living plants as a host-finding cue. We present data revealing that (i) conifer cones are warmer and emit more near-, mid- and long-range IR radiation than needles, (ii) cone-feeding western conifer seed bugs, Leptoglossus occidentalis (Hemiptera: Coreidae), possess IR receptive organs and orient towards experimental IR cues, and (iii) occlusion of the insects' IR receptors impairs IR perception. The conifers' cost of attracting cone-feeding insects may be offset by occasional mast seeding resulting in cone crops too large to be effectively exploited by herbivores.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-665
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B
Volume276
Issue number1657
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Peer-reviewedYes

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