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Keywords:

  • folivory;
  • fruit production;
  • local adaptation;
  • Ruellia nudiflora;
  • seed predation;
  • spatial variation

Abstract

This study evaluated whether the herb Ruellia nudiflora is locally adapted to a specialist insect seed predator (SP) and insect folivores, and if plant local adaptation (LA) to the former is more likely. A reciprocal transplant experiment was conducted using three sites in Yucatan (Mexico) (n = 864 plants). A third of the plants of each origin were placed at each site, and we recorded the following during a 9-month period: fruit number, leaf damage, and fruits attacked by SP. Results indicated lack of plant LA for all the variables measured. Instead, seed predation was c. 100% greater for native plants at one study site, suggesting insect LA or plant maladaptation; folivory was homogeneous across sites/origins. Based on these results, we discuss differences in the potential each herbivore guild has to promote plant LA, as well as divergent evolutionary outcomes of plant–herbivore interactions across sites.