Herbivory and Chemical Defense: How is Miconia cabucu Hoehne (Melastomataceae) Reacting on a Remnant of Atlantic Rainforest?

Gabriela Thomaz da Silva, Alan Da Silva Felisbino, Patricia De Aguiar Amaral, Birgit Harter Marques


This study examined herbivory rates and chemical defense  mechanism in leaves of Miconia cabucu Hoene  (Melastomataceae) at different development stages and environments. We also identified variations of these data in relation to seasonality and climatic factors. Young and mature leaves from 40 individuals were sampled at the border and the interior of a remnant area for the herbivory analysis. The chemical analysis was accomplished in order to detect secondary metabolites also in young and mature leaves of different development stages and environments. Young individuals were generally more attacked than adults. Higher herbivory rates were observed for mature leaves of young individuals, for both edge and interior. The chemical analysis presented positive results for phenolic compounds, flavonoids, tannins, and coumarins. Mature leaves showed higher phenolic compounds and flavonoids concentration. For the border area,higher contents was detected on summer, and for the interior, higher contents on winter. The relative air humidity and pluviosity were positively correlated with herbivory rates, while insolation and photoperiod were negatively correlated. The results of herbivory and their secondary metabolites demonstrate the importance of these relationships in Miconia cabucu, and its value for preservation and biodiversity.


Insect-Plant Interaction; Herbivory Rates; Secondary Metabolites; Fragmentation; Seasonality.


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