19 Jun '11, 3pm

Butterflies Use Medicinal Plants

Butterflies Use Medicinal Plants

Emory University biologists have found Monarch butterflies may use milkweed plants to reduce infections in their offspring. Female monarch adults infected with a parasite, choose to lay their eggs on the leaves of milkweed plants. The leaves act as both food and medicine for the offspring, as they are toxic to parasites in the larvae. Non-infected female monarchs had no preference for the types of milkweed leaves they laid their eggs on. Researcher Jaap de Roode said, “We believe that our experiments provide the best evidence to date that animals use medication.” (Source: Sciencedaily.com ) Their findings were published October 6, in the journal Ecology Letters . They also found the mother’s behavior benefits only the offspring, and not the mother, which means the behavior is trans-generational. How the behavior, which resembles human foresight, came to be is a mystery. Th...

Full article: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/butterflies-may-use-medi...

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