Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trials of Life-2

This is just a continuation of my notes and interpretations of the material covered on the Trials of Life DVD. This blog entry focuses more on predator-prey interactions though. An example of a prey species defending itself against predators would be when certain trees develop poison within their leaves in order to deter herbivorous spider monkeys. The monkeys have adapted to this defense so that they are capable of ingesting small amounts of the poison while feeding. If they have had enough poison they simply move on to another plant and may continue eating. A similar situation occurs when particular types of plants are consumed by beetles. Again, the plants produce poisons to defend against its predators, but do so in a way where the poison is produced specifically in the center of its leaves. The beetles have adapted and overcome this defense by puncturing the leaf, causing the milky poison to drain out, and then feeding safely on the end of the leaf. These are good examples of co-evolution because in each case, the two species involved in the predator-prey relationship developed mechanisms to preserve their own survivorship.

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