Parthenocarpic fruits in wild parsnip: Decoy defence against a specialist herbivore
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Parthenocarpy, the production of fruits without viable seeds, is a widespread phenomenon in plants. While failure to effect pollination or fertilization is often cited as the cause of parthenocarpy, this explanation alone is inadequate to explain why plants produce, maintain and further develop fruits. Wild parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) frequently produce parthenocarpic fruit. When parsnip webworms (Depressaria pastinacella), specialist feeders on wild parsnip, were given choices between normal fruit and parthenocarpic fruit, they exhibited a strong preference for parthenocarpic fruit. However, on parthenocarpic fruit, insects fed less efficiently and grew more slowly than insects fed normal fruit. Parthenocarpic fruits, then, may act as decoys that divert herbivores away from fruits that contain plant offspring.
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- Parthenocarpic fruits in wild parsnip: Decoy defence against a specialist herbivore
Volume 5, Issue 2 , pp 136-145
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- wild parsnip
- Pastinaca sativa
- parsnip webworm
- Depressaria pastinacella
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, 320 Morrill Hall, 505 S. Goodwin, 61801, Urbana, IL
- 2. Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 243 Natural Sciences Building, 48824, East Lansing, MI