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Coevolution and the adaptive value of autumn tree colours: colour preference and growth rates of a southern beech aphid
 

Summary: Coevolution and the adaptive value of autumn tree colours: colour
preference and growth rates of a southern beech aphid
C. C. RAMIŽREZ,* B. LAVANDERO* & M. ARCHETTI
*Instituto de BiologiŽa Vegetal y BiotecnologiŽa, Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Introduction
The adaptive value of the autumn colours of leaves is still
a matter of controversy. Red and yellow autumn colours
are produced in all deciduous forests in the temperate
regions, although not by all species of deciduous trees.
Autumn colours are mainly because of carotenoids
(yellow­orange) and anthocyanins (red­blue­brown)
(Lee, 2002a). It has been known for at least three decades
(Sanger, 1971) that autumn colours are not merely the
effect of the breakdown of chlorophyll. Although carot-
enoids, which are present all year, may become visible
because of the degradation of chlorophyll, anthocyanins
are actively produced in autumn (Lee, 2002a,b). Their
production, however, has a cost for the plant, and the
question about the adaptive value of producing pigments

  

Source: Archetti, Marco - Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine