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Eating Infested Fruits: Interactions in a Plant-Disperser-Pest Triad

Lisa K. Valburg
Oikos
Vol. 65, No. 1 (Oct., 1992), pp. 25-28
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3544883
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3544883
Page Count: 4
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Eating Infested Fruits: Interactions in a Plant-Disperser-Pest Triad
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Abstract

Larval infestation of fruits dispersed by vertebrates may effect rates of fruit removal through preferential consumption by dispersers or by their avoidance of infested fruits. I tested whether the presence of insect larvae in ripened fruits of Acnistus arborescens increases or decreases the rate of fruit removal by vertebrate dispersers. I placed paired artificial infructescences on a study site at Monteverde, Costa Rica. Fruit removal from mixed infructescences containing both infested and uninfested fruits was compared to removal from control containing only uninfested fruits. I censused fruit removal at dawn and dusk to distinguish diurnal removal by birds from nocturnal removal by mammals. More infested and uninfested fruits were removed from mixed infructescences than from controls, and a higher percentage of infested fruit was removed overall. Thus, the presence of pulp-mining larvae in fruits enhanced the total fruit removal. The results indicate that the presence of larval infestation within a fruiting raceme of Acnistus may enhance the rate of vertebrate removal of all fruits within that raceme.

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