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Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 253–260 | Cite as

Pre-dispersal seed predation in gynodioecious Geranium sylvaticum is not affected by plant gender or flowering phenology

  • Sandra Varga
Original Paper

Abstract

Sex-specific interactions with antagonists may explain female maintenance in gynodioecious populations if seeds produced by hermaphroditic plants are preferred over seeds produced by female plants. Among antagonistic interactions, pre-dispersal seed predators have received relatively little attention even though they may exert sex-specific selective pressures on the evolution of floral and flowering traits. In this work, I investigate temporal variation in seed predation in gynodioecious Geranium sylvaticum, where in addition to female and hermaphrodite individuals, plants with an intermediate sexual expression are also present in most populations. Specifically, I examined whether seed predation is linked to flowering phenology, plant gender, and sexual dimorphism in floral and seed traits over the flowering season using an experimental field population. Within the population, I selected female, intermediate, and hermaphrodite plants with different timing of flowering onset (early, mid, or late), and collected seeds across the fruiting period. Seeds were weighed and examined for seed predator damage. The results show that the three genders experienced similar levels of seed predation attack regardless of their flowering phenology, and that overall seed predation was not related to changes in seed production or seed mass. These results suggest that sexual dimorphism in seed predation cannot be responsible for female maintenance in this species.

Keywords

Flowering phenology Geranium sylvaticum Gynodioecy Seed predation Zacladus geranii 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Gaia Francini, Emmi Halonen, and Minna-Maarit Kytöviita for help with the practical work, Andrés López-Sepulcre for statistical advice, and Jelmer Elzinga, Rocío Vega-Frutis, and one anonymous referee for commenting on a previous draft of the manuscript. This study was financially supported by the Finnish Academy of Science.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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