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Discrimination among floral resources by an obligately pollinating seed-eating moth: host-marking signals
 

Summary: Discrimination among floral resources by an obligately
pollinating seed-eating moth: host-marking signals
and pollination and florivory cues
Katherine C. Horn and J. Nathaniel Holland
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA
ABSTRACT
Background: For oviposition, some insects exploit small discrete food items from which
their larvae then develop but do not disperse. In particular, senita moths exploit senita cacti
by obligately pollinating and ovipositing floral resources. Larvae consume the fruit but do
not disperse among them. Previous studies have shown that moth oviposition occurs in
a non-random, uniform distribution among floral resources (one egg per flower).
Question: Do host-marking pheromones of senita moths, pollinated stigmas, and florivory
act as signals and cues that aid them to avoid ovipositing in the previously exploited floral
resources?
Methods: We measured rates of moth pollination and oviposition of flowers in a series of
experiments. In one experiment, we simulated pheromone deposition by placing an extract of
moth abdomens on flowers. In another, we compared oviposition rates on hand-pollinated
flowers with those on controls. In a third, we simulated florivory by damaging stigmas, anthers
or petals.
Results: Moth exploitation of floral resources was higher for control than abdomen-extract

  

Source: Azevedo, Ricardo - Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston
Holland, J. Nathaniel - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology