Forum Paper

Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1-6

First online:

Why do many galls have conspicuous colors? A new hypothesis

  • M. InbarAffiliated withDepartment of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa Email author 
  • , I. IzhakiAffiliated withDepartment of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa
  • , A. KoplovichAffiliated withDepartment of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa
  • , I. LupoAffiliated withDepartment of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa
  • , N. SilanikoveAffiliated withInstitute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization
  • , T. GlasserAffiliated withInstitute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization
  • , Y. GerchmanAffiliated withDepartment of Science Education - Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa, Oranim
  • , A. PerevolotskyAffiliated withDepartment of Natural Resources, Institute of Field Crops, Agricultural Research Organization
  • , S. Lev-YadunAffiliated withDepartment of Science Education - Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa, Oranim

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Abstract

Galls are abnormal plant growth induced by various parasitic organisms, mainly insects. They serve as “incubators” for the developing insects in which they gain nutrition and protection from both abiotic factors and natural enemies. Galls are typically armed with high levels of defensive secondary metabolites. Conspicuousness by color, size and shape is a common gall trait. Many galls are colorful (red, yellow etc.) and therefore can be clearly distinguished from the surrounding host plant organs. Here we outlined a new hypothesis, suggesting that chemically protected galls which are also conspicuous are aposematic. We discuss predictions, alternative hypotheses and experimental tests of this hypothesis.

Keywords

Aposematism Chemical defense Extended phenotype Plant manipulation Warning coloration