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Contact: Nicolle Wahl
nicolle.wahl@utoronto.ca
905-569-4656
University of Toronto

Caterpillar of the Evening Primrose Moth

Caption: A caterpillar of the evening primrose moth (Schinia florida) devouring a flower bud of common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). These moths exclusively feed on the flowers and fruits of evening primrose and in response to natural selection imposed by this and other specialist moths, evening primrose populations evolve to flower later and to produce high levels of toxic chemicals called ellagitannins in their fruits. This evolution effectively reduces damage of the plantís reproductive organs and progeny.

Credit: Marc Johnson

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Related news release: Everyday evolution


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