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Male Reproductive Investment and Venereal Diseases in Plants: The Case of the Sticky Catchfly, Lychnis viscaria

Io Skogsmyr
Oikos
Vol. 66, No. 2 (Mar., 1993), pp. 209-215
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3544806
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3544806
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Male Reproductive Investment and Venereal Diseases in Plants: The Case of the Sticky Catchfly, Lychnis viscaria
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Abstract

The fungus Ustilago violacea is dispersed between certain caryophyllaceous plants, including Lychnis viscaria, by pollinating insects. Infection leads to sterility the following season when the infected plant produces fungal spores instead of pollen. Attraction of pollinators is thus associated not only with the cost of producing flowers but also with a risk of becoming infected by the fungus. In this paper I analyse male lifetime reproductive success as a function of incidence of infection in a population, cost of flower production and attractiveness to pollinators (measured as size of the inflorescence). Both lifetime reproductive success and optimal number of flowers are predicted to relate negatively to the incidence of infection in a population. This is a result of shortened reproductive lifetime due to infection and a lower fertilization, as some pollen will be deposited on infected recipients. Lifetime reproductive success is further affected by the cost of producing flowers and the number of ovules in the recipient. Changing reproductive strategies in the population as a result of different incidences of infection, may in turn affect ovule number.

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