A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example foliage or marine algae, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous animals typically have mouthparts adapted to rasping or grinding. Horses and other herbivores have wide flat teeth that are adapted to grinding grass, tree bark, and other tough plant material.
A large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut flora that help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. This flora is made up of cellulose-digesting protozoans or bacteria.
Herbivore is the anglicized form of a modern Latin coinage, herbivora, cited in Charles Lyell's 1830 Principles of Geology. Richard Owen employed the anglicized term in an 1854 work on fossil teeth and skeletons. Herbivora is derived from the Latin herba meaning a small plant or herb, and vora, from vorare, to eat or devour.
Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in general are known as primary consumers. Herbivory is usually limited to animals that eat plants. Fungi, bacteria and protists that feed on living plants are usually termed plant pathogens (plant diseases), while fungi and microbes that feed on dead plants are described as saprotrophs. Flowering plants that obtain nutrition from other living plants are usually termed parasitic plants. There is, however, no single exclusive and definitive ecological classification of consumption patterns; each textbook has its own variations on the theme.
Our understanding of herbivory in geological time comes from three sources: fossilized plants, which may preserve evidence of defence (such as spines), or herbivory-related damage; the observation of plant debris in fossilised animal faeces; and the construction of herbivore mouthparts.
Although herbivory was long thought to be a Mesozoic phenomenon, fossils have shown that within less than 20 million years after the first land plants evolved, plants were being consumed by arthropods. Insects fed on the spores of early Devonian plants, and the Rhynie chert also provides evidence that organisms fed on plants using a "pierce and suck" technique.
During the next 75 million years, plants evolved a range of more complex organs, such as roots and seeds. There is no evidence of any organism being fed upon until the middle-late Mississippian, . There was a gap of 50 to 100 million years between the time each organ evolved and the time organisms evolved to feed upon them; this may be due to the low levels of oxygen during this period, which may have suppressed evolution. Further than their arthropod status, the identity of these early herbivores is uncertain. Hole feeding and skeletonisation are recorded in the early Permian, with surface fluid feeding evolving by the end of that period.
Herbivory among four-limbed terrestrial vertebrates, the tetrapods developed in the Late Carboniferous (307 - 299 million years ago). Early tetrapods were large amphibious piscivores. While amphibians continued to feed on fish and insects, some reptiles began exploring two new food types, tetrapods (carnivory) and plants (herbivory). The entire dinosaur order ornithischia was composed with herbivores dinosaurs. Carnivory was a natural transition from insectivory for medium and large tetrapods, requiring minimal adaptation. In contrast, a complex set of adaptations was necessary for feeding on highly fibrous plant materials.
Arthropods evolved herbivory in four phases, changing their approach to it in response to changing plant communities.
Tetrapod herbivores made their first appearance in the fossil record of their jaws near the Permio-Carboniferous boundary, approximately 300 million years ago. The earliest evidence of their herbivory has been attributed to dental occlusion, the process in which teeth from the upper jaw come in contact with teeth in the lower jaw is present. The evolution of dental occlusion led to a drastic increase in plant food processing and provides evidence about feeding strategies based on tooth wear patterns. Examination of phylogenetic frameworks of tooth and jaw morphologes has revealed that dental occlusion developed independently in several lineages tetrapod herbivores. This suggests that evolution and spread occurred simultaneously within various lineages.
Herbivores form an important link in the food chain because they consume plants in order to digest the carbohydrates photosynthetically produced by a plant. Carnivores in turn consume herbivores for the same reason, while omnivores can obtain their nutrients from either plants or animals. Due to a herbivore's ability to survive solely on tough and fibrous plant matter, they are termed the primary consumers in the food cycle (chain). Herbivory, carnivory, and omnivory can be regarded as special cases of Consumer-Resource Systems.
Two herbivore feeding strategies are grazing (e.g. cows) and browsing (herbivory) (e.g. moose). For a terrestrial mammal to be called a grazer, at least 90% of the forage has to be grass, and for a browser at least 90% tree leaves and/or twigs. An intermediate feeding strategy is called "mixed-feeding". In their daily need to take up energy from forage, herbivores of different body mass may be selective in choosing their food. "Selective" means that herbivores may choose their forage source depending on, e.g., season or food availability, but also that they may choose high quality (and consequently highly nutritious) forage before lower quality. The latter especially is determined by the body mass of the herbivore, with small herbivores selecting for high quality forage, and with increasing body mass animals are less selective. Several theories attempt to explain and quantify the relationship between animals and their food, such as Kleiber's law, Holling's disk equation and the marginal value theorem (see below).
Kleiber's law describes the relationship between an animal's size and its feeding strategy, saying that larger animals need to eat less food per unit weight than smaller animals. Kleiber’s law states that the metabolic rate (q0) of an animal is the mass of the animal (M) raised to the 3/4 power: q0=M3/4 Therefore, the mass of the animal increases at a faster rate than the metabolic rate.
Herbivores employ numerous types of feeding strategies. Many herbivores do not fall into one specific feeding strategy, but employ several strategies and eat a variety of plant parts.
|Algivores||Algae||krill, crabs, sea snail, sea urchin, parrotfish, surgeonfish, flamingo|
|Mucivores||Plant fluids, i.e. sap||Aphids|
Optimal Foraging Theory is a model for predicting animal behavior while looking for food or other resource, such as shelter or water. This model assesses both individual movement, such as animal behavior while looking for food, and distribution within a habitat, such as dynamics at the population and community level. For example, the model would be used to look at the browsing behavior of a deer while looking for food, as well as that deer's specific location and movement within the forested habitat and its interaction with other deer while in that habitat.
This model has been criticized as circular and untestable. Critics have pointed out that its proponents use examples that fit the theory, but do not use the model when it does not fit the reality. Other critics point out that animals do not have the ability to assess and maximize their potential gains, therefore the optimal foraging theory is irrelevant and derived to explain trends that do not exist in nature.
Holling's disk equation models the efficiency at which predators consume prey. The model predicts that as the number of prey increases, the amount of time predators spend handling prey also increases and therefore the efficiency of the predator decreases. In 1959, S. Holling proposed an equation to model the rate of return for an optimal diet: Rate (R )=Energy gained in foraging (Ef)/(time searching (Ts) + time handling (Th))
Where s=cost of search per unit time f=rate of encounter with items, h=handling time, e=energy gained per encounter
In effect, this would indicate that a herbivore in a dense forest would spend more time handling (eating) the vegetation because there was so much vegetation around than a herbivore in a sparse forest, who could easily browse through the forest vegetation. According to the Holling's disk equation, a herbivore in the sparse forest would be more efficient at eating than the herbivore in the dense forest
The marginal value theorem describes the balance between eating all the food in a patch for immediate energy, or moving to a new patch and leaving the plants in the first patch to regenerate for future use. The theory predicts that absent complicating factors, an animal should leave a resource patch when the rate of payoff (amount of food) falls below the average rate of payoff for the entire area. According to this theory, locus should move to a new patch of food when the patch they are currently feeding on requires more energy to obtain food than an average patch. Within this theory, two subsequent parameters emerge, the Giving Up Density (GUD) and the Giving Up Time (GUT). The Giving Up Density (GUD) quantifies the amount of food that remains in a patch when a forager moves to a new patch. The Giving Up Time (GUT) is used when an animal continuously assesses the patch quality.
The myriad defenses displayed by plants means that their herbivores need a variety of skills to overcome these defenses and obtain food. These allow herbivores to increase their feeding and use of a host plant. Herbivores have three primary strategies for dealing with plant defenses: choice, herbivore modification, and plant modification.
Feeding choice involves which plants a herbivore chooses to consume. It has been suggested that many herbivores feed on a variety of plants to balance their nutrient uptake and to avoid consuming too much of any one type of defensive chemical. This involves a tradeoff however, between foraging on many plant species to avoid toxins or specializing on one type of plant that can be detoxified.
Herbivore modification is when various adaptations to body or digestive systems of the herbivore allow them to overcome plant defenses. This might include detoxifying secondary metabolites, sequestering toxins unaltered, or avoiding toxins, such as through the production of large amounts of saliva to reduce effectiveness of defenses. Herbivores may also utilize symbionts to evade plant defences. For example, some aphids use bacteria in their gut to provide essential amino acids lacking in their sap diet.
Plant modification occurs when herbivores manipulate their plant prey to increase feeding. For example, some caterpillars roll leaves to reduce the effectiveness of plant defenses activated by sunlight.
A plant defense is a trait that increases plant fitness when faced with herbivory. This is measured relative to another plant that lacks the defensive trait. Plant defenses increase survival and/or reproduction (fitness) of plants under pressure of predation from herbivores.
Defense can be divided into two main categories, tolerance and resistance. Tolerance is the ability of a plant to withstand damage without a reduction in fitness. This can occur by diverting herbivory to non-essential plant parts or by rapid regrowth and recovery from herbivory. Resistance refers to the ability of a plant to reduce the amount of damage it receives from a herbivore. This can occur via avoidance in space or time, physical defenses, or chemical defenses. Defenses can either be constitutive, always present in the plant, or induced, produced or translocated by the plant following damage or stress.
Physical, or mechanical, defenses are barriers or structures designed to deter herbivores or reduce intake rates, lowering overall herbivory. Thorns such as those found on roses or acacia trees are one example, as are the spines on a cactus. Smaller hairs known as trichomes may cover leaves or stems and are especially effective against invertebrate herbivores. In addition, some plants have waxes or resins that alter their texture, making them difficult to eat. Also the incorporation of silica into cell walls is analogous to that of the role of lignin in that it is a compression-resistant structural component of cell walls; so that plants with their cell walls impregnated with silica are thereby afforded a measure of protection against herbivory.
Chemical defenses are secondary metabolites produced by the plant that deter herbivory. There are a wide variety of these in nature and a single plant can have hundreds of different chemical defenses. Chemical defenses can be divided into two main groups, carbon-based defenses and nitrogen-based defenses.
Plants have also changed features that enhance the probability of attracting natural enemies to herbivores. Some emit semiochemicals, odors that attract natural enemies, while others provide food and housing to maintain the natural enemies’ presence, e.g. ants that reduce herbivory. A given plant species often has many types of defensive mechanisms, mechanical or chemical, constitutive or induced, which allow it to escape from herbivores.
According to the theory of predator–prey interactions, the relationship between herbivores and plants is cyclic. When prey (plants) are numerous their predators (herbivores) increase in numbers, reducing the prey population, which in turn causes predator number to decline. The prey population eventually recovers, starting a new cycle. This suggests that the population of the herbivore fluctuates around the carrying capacity of the food source, in this case the plant.
Several factors play into these fluctuating populations and help stabilize predator–prey dynamics. For example, spatial heterogeneity is maintained, which means there will always be pockets of plants not found by herbivores. This stabilizing dynamic plays an especially important role for specialist herbivores that feed on one species of plant and prevents these specialists from wiping out their food source. Prey defenses also help stabilize predator–prey dynamics, and for more information on these relationships see the section on Plant Defenses. Eating a second prey type helps herbivores’ populations stabilize. Alternating between two or more plant types provides population stability for the herbivore, while the populations of the plants oscillate. This plays an important role for generalist herbivores that eat a variety of plants. Keystone herbivores keep vegetation populations in check and allow for a greater diversity of both herbivores and plants. When an invasive herbivore or plant enters the system, the balance is thrown off and the diversity can collapse to a monotaxon system.
The back and forth relationship of plant defense and herbivore offense drives coevolution between plants and herbivores, resulting in a "coevolutionary arms race". The escape and radiation mechanisms for coevolution, presents the idea that adaptations in herbivores and their host plants, has been the driving force behind speciation.
While much of the interaction of herbivory and plant defense is negative, with one individual reducing the fitness of the other, some is actually beneficial. This beneficial herbivory takes the form of mutualisms in which both partners benefit in some way from the interaction. Seed dispersal by herbivores and pollination are two forms of mutualistic herbivory in which the herbivore receives a food resource and the plant is aided in reproduction.
Herbivorous fish and marine animals are indispensable parts of the coral reef ecosystem. Since algae and seaweeds grow much faster than corals, they can occupy spaces where corals could have settled. They can outgrow and thus outcompete corals on bare surfaces. In the absence of plant-eating fish, seaweeds deprive corals of sunlight.
The impact of herbivory can be seen in areas ranging from economics to ecological, and both. For example, environmental degradation from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the US alone has the potential to both change vegetative communities through over-browsing and cost forest restoration projects upwards of $750 million annually. Agricultural crop damage by the same species totals approximately $100 million every year. Insect crop damages also contribute largely to annual crop losses in the U.S. Herbivores affect economics through the revenue generated by hunting and ecotourism. For example, the hunting of herbivorous game species such as white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, antelope, and elk in the U.S. contributes greatly to the billion-dollar annually hunting industry. Ecotourism is a major source of revenue, particularly in Africa, where many large mammalian herbivores such as elephants, zebras, and giraffes help to bring in the equivalent of millions of US dollars to various nations annually.
Aralosaurus (meaning "Aral Sea lizard", because it was found in the Aral Sea - Greek sauros = lizard) was a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur which lived during the Late Cretaceous Bostobe Formation of what is now Kazakhstan. Aralosaurus was characterized by a small, bony peak on its nose, much like its relatives Maiasaura and Gryposaurus. It was described by Soviet paleontologist A. Rozhdestvensky in 1968.Aralosaurus was a herbivore that lived in the late Cretaceous period, sometime between 93.5 and 85.8 million years ago. Several relatives, such as Jaxartosaurus have also been found in the surrounding area where Aralosaurus was found.Browsing (herbivory)
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which a herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growing, generally woody plants such as shrubs. This is contrasted with grazing, usually associated with animals feeding on grass or other low vegetation. Alternatively, grazers are animals eating mainly grass, and browsers are animals eating mainly non-grasses, which include both woody and herbaceous dicots. In either case, an example of this dichotomy are goats (which are browsers) and sheep (which are grazers); these two closely related ruminants utilize dissimilar food sources.Close to nature forestry
Close to nature forestry is a management approach treating forest as an ecological system performing multiple functions. Close to nature silviculture tries to achieve the management objectives with minimum necessary human intervention aimed at accelerating the processes that nature would do by itself more slowly. It works with natural populations of trees, ongoing processes and existing structures using cognitive approach, as in the case of uneven-aged forest (Plenterwald). Its theory and practice takes forest as a self regulating ecosystem and manages it as such.
It aims at overcoming the divorce between forestalist and ecologist management systems of forest. As an important consequence, it concludes that if properly applied, it would render the segregation of forest lands into "productive" and "reserves" or national parks unnecessary.Consumer–resource interactions
Consumer–resource interactions are the core motif of ecological food chains or food webs, and are an umbrella term for a variety of more specialized types of biological species interactions including prey-predator (see predation), host-parasite (see parasitism), plant-herbivore and victim-exploiter systems. These kinds of interactions have been studied and modeled by population ecologists for nearly a century. Species at the bottom of the food chain, such as algae and other autotrophs, consume non-biological resources, such as minerals and nutrients of various kinds, and they derive their energy from light (photons) or chemical sources. Species higher up in the food chain survive by consuming other species and can be classified by what they eat and how they obtain or find their food.Diprotodontia
Diprotodontia is an order of about 125 species
of marsupial mammals including the kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koala, wombats, and many others. Extinct diprotodonts include the rhinoceros-sized Diprotodon, and Thylacoleo, the so-called "marsupial lion".Dongbeititan
Dongbeititan is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous-age Yixian Formation of Beipiao, Liaoning, China. It is based on holotype DNHM D2867, a partial postcranial skeleton including bones from the limbs, shoulder and pelvic girdles, and vertebrae. Its describers suggested it was as a basal titanosauriform, not as derived as Gobititan or Jiutaisaurus, but more derived than Euhelopus, Fusuisaurus, and Huanghetitan. The type species is D. dongi, and it is the first named sauropod from the Yixian Formation, which is part of the well-known Jehol Group. The genus name refers to the region Dongbei and to Greek titan, "giant". The specific name honours the Chinese paleontologist Dong Zhiming. Like other sauropods, Dongbeititan would have been a large quadrupedal herbivore.Herbivore adaptations to plant defense
Herbivores are dependent on plants for food, and have coevolved mechanisms to obtain this food despite the evolution of a diverse arsenal of plant defenses against herbivory. Herbivore adaptations to plant defense have been likened to "offensive traits" and consist of those traits that allow for increased feeding and use of a host. Plants, on the other hand, protect their resources for use in growth and reproduction, by limiting the ability of herbivores to eat them. Relationships between herbivores and their host plants often results in reciprocal evolutionary change. When a herbivore eats a plant it selects for plants that can mount a defensive response, whether the response is incorporated biochemically or physically, or induced as a counterattack. In cases where this relationship demonstrates "specificity" (the evolution of each trait is due to the other), and "reciprocity" (both traits must evolve), the species are thought to have coevolved. The escape and radiation mechanisms for coevolution, presents the idea that adaptations in herbivores and their host plants, has been the driving force behind speciation. The coevolution that occurs between plants and herbivores that ultimately results in the speciation of both can be further explained by the Red Queen hypothesis. This hypothesis states that competitive success and failure evolve back and forth through organizational learning. The act of an organism facing competition with another organism ultimately leads to an increase in the organism's performance due to selection. This increase in competitive success then forces the competing organism to increase its performance through selection as well, thus creating an "arms race" between the two species. Herbivores evolve due to plant defenses because plants must increase their competitive performance first due to herbivore competitive success.Herbivore men
Herbivore men or grass-eater men (草食(系)男子, Sōshoku(-kei) danshi) is a term used in Japan to describe men who have no interest in getting married or finding a girlfriend. The term herbivore men was also a term that is described as young men who had lost their "manliness". The term was coined by the author Maki Fukasawa in an article published on 13 October 2006. The term also has close ties in meaning to "ohitorisama" which roughly translates to the act of living alone and performing tasks independently of other people.
Surveys of single Japanese men conducted in 2010 found that 61% of men in their 20s and 70% of men in their 30s considered themselves to be herbivores. Japan's government views the phenomenon as one possible cause of the nation's declining birth rate.According to Fukasawa, herbivore men are "not without romantic relationships, but have a non-assertive, indifferent attitude toward desires of flesh". The philosopher Masahiro Morioka defines herbivore men as "kind and gentle men who, without being bound by manliness, do not pursue romantic relationships voraciously and have no aptitude for being hurt or hurting others."List of African dinosaurs
This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Africa. Africa has a rich fossil record, but it is patchy and incomplete. It is rich in Triassic and Early Jurassic dinosaurs. African dinosaurs from these time periods include Coelophysis, Dracovenator, Melanorosaurus, Massospondylus, Euskelosaurus, Heterodontosaurus, Abrictosaurus, and Lesothosaurus. In the Middle Jurassic, the sauropods Atlasaurus, Chebsaurus, Jobaria, and Spinophorosaurus, flourished, as well as the theropod Afrovenator. The Late Jurassic is well represented in Africa, mainly thanks to the spectacular Tendaguru Formation. Veterupristisaurus, Ostafrikasaurus, Elaphrosaurus, Giraffatitan, Dicraeosaurus, Janenschia, Tornieria, Tendaguria, Kentrosaurus, and Dysalotosaurus are among the dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Tendaguru. This fauna seems to show strong similarities to that of the Morrison Formation in the United States and the Lourinha Formation in Portugal. For example, similar theropods, ornithopods and sauropods have been found in both the Tendaguru and the Morrison. This has important biogeographical implications.
The Early Cretaceous in Africa is known primarily from the northern part of the continent, particularly Niger. Suchomimus, Elrhazosaurus, Rebbachisaurus, Nigersaurus, Kryptops, Nqwebasaurus, and Paranthodon are some of the Early Cretaceous dinosaurs known from Africa. The Early Cretaceous was an important time for the dinosaurs of Africa because it was when Africa finally separated from South America, forming the South Atlantic Ocean. This was an important event because now the dinosaurs of Africa started developing endemism because of isolation.
The Late Cretaceous of Africa is known mainly from North Africa. During the early part of the Late Cretaceous, North Africa was home to a rich dinosaur fauna. It includes Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Rugops, Bahariasaurus, Deltadromeus, Paralititan, Aegyptosaurus, and Ouranosaurus.List of Asian dinosaurs
This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Asia excluding the Indian Subcontinent, which was part of a separate landmass for much of the Mesozoic. This list does not include dinosaurs that live or lived after the Mesozoic era such as birds.List of Australian and Antarctic dinosaurs
This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Australia or Antarctica.List of European dinosaurs
Dinosaurs evolved partway through the Triassic period of the Mesozoic era, around 230 Ma (million years ago). At that time, the earth had one supercontinental landmass, called Pangaea, of which Europe was a part. So it remained throughout the Triassic. By the start of the Jurassic period, some 30 million years later, the supercontinent began to split into Laurasia and Gondwana. The largest inlet from Panthalassa, the superocean that surrounded Pangaea, was called the Tethys Ocean, and as this inlet cut deeper into the supercontinent, much of Europe was flooded.
By the Cretaceous, from 145 to 66 million years ago, the continents were beginning to approach their present shapes, but not their present positions, and Europe remained tropical. At times, it was a chain of island-microcontinents including Baltica and Iberia.
Europe is relatively rich in fossils from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, and much of what is known about European dinosaurs dates from this time. As the timeline below illustrates, there are substantial gaps in our knowledge from the rest of the Mesozoic. The absence of dinosaur genera from this time is because few fossils have been discovered, and almost certainly not because Europe contained few types of dinosaur—except, perhaps, immediately after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event.List of North American dinosaurs
This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from North America. North America has a rich dinosaur fossil record with great diversity of dinosaurs.List of South American dinosaurs
This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from South America.List of herbivorous animals
This is a list of herbivorous animals. Herbivores are animals that eat plants. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which a heterotrophic organism consumes other organisms, principally autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in general are known as 1st level consumers.Livestock
Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consumption, while other times it refers only to farmed ruminants, such as cattle and goats. Horses are considered livestock in the United States. The USDA uses livestock similarly to some uses of the term “red meat”, in which it specifically refers to all the mammal animals kept in this setting to be used as commodities. The USDA mentions pork, veal, beef, and lamb are all classified as livestock and all livestock is considered to be red meats. Poultry and fish are not included in the category.The breeding, maintenance, and slaughter of livestock, known as animal husbandry, is a component of modern agriculture that has been practiced in many cultures since humanity's transition to farming from hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animal husbandry practices have varied widely across cultures and time periods. Originally, livestock were not confined by fences or enclosures, but these practices have largely shifted to intensive animal farming, sometimes referred to as "factory farming". Now, over 99% of livestock are raised on factory farms. These practices increase yield of the various commercial outputs, but have also led to negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment. Livestock production continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous rural communities.Men Going Their Own Way
Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW ) is an anti-feminist, mostly online community advocating for men to separate themselves from society, and particularly to eschew heterosexual marriage and cohabitation. MGTOW have "...vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children".The community comprises websites and social media presences as part of what is more broadly termed the manosphere. MGTOW purports to focus on men's self-ownership rather than changing the status quo through activism and protest, which to participants differentiates the community from the men's rights movement.The community has been called a misogynistic male supremacist group; the Southern Poverty Law Center places MGTOW "on the borders of the hateful incel community".Plant defense against herbivory
Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance (HPR) describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores. Plants can sense being touched, and they can use several strategies to defend against damage caused by herbivores. Many plants produce secondary metabolites, known as allelochemicals, that influence the behavior, growth, or survival of herbivores. These chemical defenses can act as repellents or toxins to herbivores, or reduce plant digestibility.
Other defensive strategies used by plants include escaping or avoiding herbivores in any time and/or any place, for example by growing in a location where plants are not easily found or accessed by herbivores, or by changing seasonal growth patterns. Another approach diverts herbivores toward eating non-essential parts, or enhances the ability of a plant to recover from the damage caused by herbivory. Some plants encourage the presence of natural enemies of herbivores, which in turn protect the plant. Each type of defense can be either constitutive (always present in the plant), or induced (produced in reaction to damage or stress caused by herbivores).
Historically, insects have been the most significant herbivores, and the evolution of land plants is closely associated with the evolution of insects. While most plant defenses are directed against insects, other defenses have evolved that are aimed at vertebrate herbivores, such as birds and mammals. The study of plant defenses against herbivory is important, not only from an evolutionary view point, but also in the direct impact that these defenses have on agriculture, including human and livestock food sources; as beneficial 'biological control agents' in biological pest control programs; as well as in the search for plants of medical importance.Qingxiusaurus
Qingxiusaurus is a genus of titanosaur sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Guangxi, China. The type species, described by Mo et al. in 2008, is Q. youjiangensis. Like other sauropods, Qingxiusaurus would have been a large quadrupedal herbivore. It is known from only limited remains: Two humeri, two sternal plates, and the neural spine of a single vertebra.