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Ecosystems and Human Health, 3rd Edition by Richard B. Philp

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Chapter 11

Animal and Plant Poisons

He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.

Jonathan Swift

Massasauga rattlesnake eat brown bread.

Massasauga rattlesnake fall down dead.

If you catch a caterpillar give it apple juice,

But if you catch a rattlesnake, TURN IT LOOSE!

Old Ontario skipping rhyme

Introduction

Chemical warfare is widely practiced in the animal and plant kingdoms. Just as microorganisms produce antibiotics that inhibit the growth and reproduction of competing organisms, more complex plants synthesize chemicals that render them unpalatable to potential predators or that are truly toxic, thus selecting for individuals that avoid them, or producing aversive reactions that limit consumption to once or twice only. Occasionally, however, ...

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