Oviposition by mutualistic seed-consuming pollinators reduces fruit abortion in a recently iscovered pollination mutualism

Song, B. and Stöcklin, Jürg and Gao, Y.-Q. and Peng, D.-L. and Song, M.-S. and Sun, H.. (2016) Oviposition by mutualistic seed-consuming pollinators reduces fruit abortion in a recently iscovered pollination mutualism. Scientific Reports, 6. p. 29886.

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A prerequisite for the evolutionary stability of pollinating seed-consuming mutualisms is that each partner benefits from the association. However, few studies of such mutualism have considered the benefit gained by the pollinators. Here, we determined how the pollinating seed-predators ensure the provisioning of their offspring in the recently discovered mutualism between Rheum nobile and Bradysia flies. The correlation between flower fate and fly oviposition was examined. Floral traits and patterns of variation in fruit abortion and fly oviposition were investigated to determine whether female flies exhibit preferences for particular flowers when laying eggs. Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) was quantified to determine whether female flies manipulate host physiology. Flowers that flies oviposited on had a significantly lower probability of fruit abortion compared with intact flowers. Females did not exhibit oviposition preference for any of the floral traits examined. There was no significant correlation between fruit abortion and fly oviposition in terms of either flower position or timing of flowering. IAA concentrations in oviposited flowers were significantly higher than in intact flowers. Our results suggest that oviposition by the mutualistic seed-consuming pollinator Bradysia sp., greatly reduces the probability of fruit abortion of its host, R. nobile; this may be attributed to the manipulation of host physiology through regulating IAA levels.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Population Biology (Stöcklin)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:13 Nov 2017 15:56
Deposited On:30 Oct 2017 08:12

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