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Color changes in old aposematic thorns, spines, and prickles

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Patterns of color changes of senescent colorful aposematic prickles, spines, and thorns are described. Color changes make the older prickles, spines, and thorns less conspicuous and they lose their aposematic character. The color changes and the aposematic character loss occur when the defended organs become less edible to large herbivores because of their increased size, mechanical rigidity, or chemical defense or when there is no need for defense. Reducing the cost of defense seems to be the reason for the ephemeral nature of conspicuousness of plant prickles, spines, and thorns.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa-Oranim


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