Ecology of stinging nettles



Urtica dioica the stinging nettles with its stems and leaves densely   covered with stinging hairs, which release potential pain-inducing toxins   when brushing contact is made with them, is rarely eaten by rabbits. However nettle seeds have been found in cow dung so are eaten by cattle. Nettles have a higher nutritional value than the fodder crops amongst which they thrive. Nettles contain 5 times the copper and 1.5 times the iron content of fodder grasses   and when dried may be consumed by cattle without ill effects. They are palatable   to some species of snail (Salisbury 1961). The stings offer little defence against caterpillars. Up to 31 species of Lepidoptera butterflies and moths   feed on stinging nettles, of which the adults of 4 species and 31 larvae feed   (Davis 1991).

Urtica dioica is the food plant of the larvae of a  number of attractive butterflies…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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