The reproductive biology of the myrmecophyte, Hirtella physophora, and the limitation of negative interactions between pollinators and ants

Abstract : Myrmecophytism occurs in plants that offer ants a nesting space and, often, food rewards in exchange for protection from predators and competitors. Such biotic protection by ants can, however, interfere with the activity of pollinators leading to potential negative consequences for the plant’s reproduction. In this study, we focused on the association between the understory myrmecophyte, Hirtella physophora (Chrysobalanaceae), and its obligate ant partner, Allomerus decemarticulatus (Myrmicinae). We investigated the reproductive biology of H. physophora and the putative mechanisms that may limit ant–pollinator conflict. Our results show that H. physophora is an obligate outcrosser, self-incompatible, and potentially insect-pollinated species. The reproduction of H. physophora relies entirely on pollen transfer by pollinators that are likely quite specific. Potential interference between flower-visiting insects during pollination may also be lessened by a spatial and temporal segregation of ant and pollinator activities, thus enabling pollen transfer and fruit production.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 3:39:28 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 11, 2019 - 8:22:29 PM

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Pierre-Jean G. Malé, Céline Leroy, Lucie Lusignan, Frédéric Petitclerc, Quilichini Angélique, et al.. The reproductive biology of the myrmecophyte, Hirtella physophora, and the limitation of negative interactions between pollinators and ants. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, Springer Verlag, 2015, 9 (1), pp.23-31. ⟨10.1007/s11829-014-9352-x⟩. ⟨hal-01140817⟩

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