Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First evidence of plants evolving weaponry to compete in the struggle for selection

20.03.2014

Rutting stags and clawing bears are but two examples of male animals fighting over a mate, but research in New Phytologist has uncovered the first evidence of similar male struggles leading to the evolution of weaponry in plants.

The team, led by Dr. Andrea Cocucci from the Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biologia Vegetal of Argentina, studied a species of milkweed (Apocynaceae), found in tropical climates.

Oxypetalum solanoides

This is an example of the horned pollinaria found in South American milkweed.

Credit: Andrea Cocucci

While plants do not mate like animals, but rather reproduce via pollinators such as insects or birds, competition between individuals to exploit those pollinators can result in confrontation between the plants.

Milkweed reproduce by hooking sacs of pollen grains, known as pollinia, to the bodies of birds and other pollinators, which can be unwittingly dropped into another flower to complete pollination.

It is possible for multiple pollinarium to become entangled together due to the limited number of attachment points on the pollinator, and this Dr. Cocucci's team believe, is the source of confrontation.

The team studied the South America milkweed genus Oxypetalum and found horn-like structures on the pollinia sacs which have no obvious biological use. The paper suggests that these horns are used to prevent the sacs from being hooked together with pollinia from other parent plants.

"Our results suggest that neither self-propulsion nor well-developed sensory perception are required for sexual selection to take place through intrasexual struggles," said Dr. Cocucci.

"Apparently, only physical contact is enough to influence the mating success of competitors and to promote the evolution of defensive and attack weaponry."

Ben Norman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com

Further reports about: attack confrontation flower genus pollinator selection sensory species

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses
27.02.2015 | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht Moving molecule writes letters
27.02.2015 | Technische Universitaet Muenchen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Geosciences Union meeting: programme online, provisional press conference topics

26.02.2015 | Event News

Round Table on Solar Energy Research

18.02.2015 | Event News

40th FEBS Congress 2015 – The Biochemical Basis of Life

09.02.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create self-reconstructive metal wire utilizing electric field trapping of gold nanoparticles

27.02.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Climate-Change Clues From the Turtles of Tropical Wyoming

27.02.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Pockets of Calm Protect Molecules Around a Supermassive Black Hole

27.02.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>