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Oecologia

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 203–208 | Cite as

Facultative ripening in Hamelia patens (Rubiaceae): effects of fruit removal and rotting

  • D. J. Levey
Original Papers

Summary

In Costa Rica individual Hamelia patens trees produce fruit throughout the year and experience dramatic changes in rates of fruit removal and rotting. During some moths, most fruits rot because they are not removed. Rotting fruits increase the probability that other fruits on the same infructescence will rot. When removal rates are high, fruits are taken as soon as their seeds become viable but before the fruit is completely ripe. Experimental removal of fruits produced significantly higher ripening rates than on control infructescences. This response allows Hamelia to ripen more fruit and increase the number of fruits taken when dispersers are abundant (e.g., during migration). The proximate mechanism of this response probably includes reallocation of energy conserved when partially ripe fruits are removed. Responding to fluctuating disperser populations likely increases dispersal success and may function as the ultimate cause.

Key words

Hamelia patens Fruit removal Fruit ripening Fruit rot Seed dispersal 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Levey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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