Limiting the cost of mutualism: the defensive role of elongated gynophore in the leafflower–moth mutualism

Limiting the cost of mutualism: the defensive role of elongated gynophore in the... Mutualisms are interactions from which both partners benefit but may collapse if mutualists’ costs and benefits are not aligned. Host sanctions are one mechanism whereby hosts selectively allocate resources to the more cooperative partners and thereby reduce the fitness of overexploiters; however, many mutualisms lack apparent means of host sanctions. In mutualisms between plants and pollinating seed parasites, such as those between leafflowers and leafflower moths, pollinators consume subsets of the seeds as larval food in return for their pollination service. Plants may select against overexploiters by selectively aborting flowers with a heavy egg load, but in many leafflower species, seeds are fully eaten in some fruits, suggesting that such a mechanism is not present in all species. Instead, the fruits of Breynia vitis-idaea have stalk-like structures (gynophore) through which early-instar moth larvae must bore to reach seeds. Examination of moth mortality in fruits with different gynophore lengths suggested that fruits with longer gynophore had higher moth mortality and, therefore, less seed damage. Most moth mortality occurred at the egg stage or as early larval instar before moths reached the seeds, consistent with the view that gynophore functions to prevent moth access to seeds. Gynophore length was unaffected by plant size, extent of moth oviposition, or geography; thus, it is most likely genetically controlled. Because gynophores do not elongate in related species whose pollinators oviposit directly into the ovary, the gynophore in B. vitis-idaea may have evolved as a defense to limit the cost of the mutualism. Oecologia Springer Journals

Limiting the cost of mutualism: the defensive role of elongated gynophore in the leafflower–moth mutualism

Loading next page...
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Life Sciences; Ecology; Plant Sciences; Hydrology/Water Resources
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial