Literature

Antiherbivore chemistry of eucalyptus — cues and deterrents for marsupial Folivores

BEN D. MOORE,1,∗ IAN R. WALLIS,1 JESÚS PALÁ -PAÚL,1,4 JOSEPH J. BROPHY,2 RICHARD H. WILLIS,3 and WILLIAM J. FOLEY1

1School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia

2School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales Sydney NSW 2052, Australia

3Australian Institute of Marine Science Townsville QLD 4810, Australia

ABSTRACT

Formylated phloroglucinol compounds (FPCs) are the single most important factor determining the amount of foliage that marsupial folivores eat from individual Eucalyptus trees. Folivores need to recognize which trees contain FPCs if they are to avoid them and forage efficiently, they are challenged by great diversity in the types and quantities of FPCs present, even within eucalypt species. We investigated the relationship between FPCs and terpenoids in species with both simple and complex FPC profiles and found strong positive correlations between terpenes generally, and several monoterpenes in particular, and FPCs. Terpene cues also indicated qualitative differences in trees’ FPC profiles. We describe significant qualitative and quantitative variation in FPCs in several species that are important food sources for marsupial folivores. New discoveries include the fact that macrocarpals occur as two major, distinct groups and several new dimericacyl phloroglucinols from Eucalyptus strzeleckii. These patterns add to the chemical complexity of the foraging environment for folivores.