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Wasp florivory decreases reproductive success in an epiphytic bromeliad

Research paper by Alfredo Cascante-Marín, Jan H. D. Wolf, J. Gerard B. Oostermeijer

Indexed on: 30 Oct '08Published on: 30 Oct '08Published in: Plant Ecology



Abstract

Flower predation or florivory may alter the sexual expression, floral display, and reduce the reproductive success in plants. In this article, we estimated the effect of florivory on the reproductive success of the epiphytic bromeliad Werauhia gladioliflora during 2001–2003 in a premontane area in Costa Rica. Floral buds of W. gladioliflora are attacked by the wasp Eurytoma werauhia (Eurytomidae), which inhibits flower anthesis. Nearly, a quarter of the sampled population flowers were lost due to wasp infection and it accounted for nearly 70% of the reduction in fruit set. Flowers located on the inflorescence upper segment had a higher attack incidence. In the studied population, florivory has a major role in the reproductive success of W. gladioliflora. Florivory on epiphytic plants is scarcely reported in the literature, but evidence suggests that this phenomenon is more spread in the epiphytic community. Whether florivory in W. gladioliflora is a selective pressure influencing the reproductive success or a localized factor operating at the studied population is a subject requiring additional data.