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Florivory increases selfing: an experimental study in the wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana

Authors

  • L. Penet,

    1.  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    2.  Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, Linesville, PA, USA
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  • C. L. Collin,

    1.  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    2.  Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, Linesville, PA, USA
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  • T.-L. Ashman

    1.  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    2.  Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, Linesville, PA, USA
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  • Editor
    N. van Dam

T.-L. Ashman, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 4249 Fifth Avenue and Ruskin, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
E-mail: tia1@pitt.edu

Abstract

Florivores are antagonists that damage flowers, and have direct negative effects on flowering and pollination of the attacked plants. While florivory has mainly been studied for its consequences on seed production or siring success, little is known about its impact on mating systems. Damage to flowers can alter pollinator attraction to the plant and may therefore modify patterns of pollen transfer. However, the consequences of damage for mating systems can take two forms: a decrease in flower number reduces opportunities for intra-inflorescence pollen deposition (geitonogamy), which, in turn, may lead to a decrease in selfing; whereas a decrease in floral display may also reduce overall visitation and thus increase the chances of self-pollination via facilitated or autonomous autogamy. We investigated the effects of damage by a bud-clipping weevil (Anthonomus signatus) in Fragaria virginiana in an experimental setting mimicking natural conditions. We found that increased damage led to an increase in selfing, a result consistent with the increased autogamy pathway. We discuss the implications of this finding and evaluate the generality of florivore-mediated mating system expression.

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