, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 161-169

Intersexual differences in phenology and damage by herbivores and pathogens in dioecious Rubus chamaemorus L.

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Shoot development and damage by herbivores and pathogens to male, female and non-floral ramets of the dioecious, perennial herb Rubus chamaemorus were studied in the field during three consecutive years. Leaves on male ramets were usually consumed more by herbivores and attacked more by fungi than were leaves on female ramets. Male ramets unfolded their leaves later than did female ramets. In 1983, when the level of herbivory was comparatively high, ramets that were fully developed in early June were more damaged by herbivores than were ramets that unfolded their leaves later. Non-floral ramets usually showed intermediate levels of damage compared to male and female flowering ramets.

Defoliation caused a greater increase in ramet mortality among females than among males in a field experiment. It is suggested that the different reproductive roles of males and females differently constrain the evolution of defense against herbivores and pathogens in dioecious plants. This may result in intersexual differences both in palatability to herbivores and susceptibility to pathogens.