Simulated herbivory: the key to disentangling plant defence responses

Jamie M. Waterman, Christopher I. Cazzonelli, Susan E Hartley, Scott N. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plants are subjected to a multitude of stimuli during insect herbivory, resulting in a complex and cumulative defence response. Breaking down the components of herbivory into specific stimuli and identifying the mechanisms of defence associated with them has thus far been challenging. Advances in our understanding of responses to inconspicuous stimuli, such as those induced by microbial symbionts in herbivore secretions and mechanical stimulation caused by insects, have illuminated the intricacies of herbivory. Here, we provide a synthesis of the interacting impacts of herbivory on plants and the consequential complexities associated with uncoupling defence responses. We propose that simulated herbivory should be used to complement true herbivory to decipher the mechanisms of insect herbivore-induced plant defence responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number5
Early online date26 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • elicitors
  • insect herbivores
  • mechanical stimulation
  • microbial associations
  • plant defence
  • simulated herbivory

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