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Keywords:

  • Byrsonima sericea ;
  • Cecidomyiidae;
  • flower gall;
  • Malpighiaceae

Abstract

Galls are anomalies in plant development from parasitic origin, and affect cellular differentiation or growth of plants. This parasite–plant interaction occurs in many environments and typically in vegetative organs of plants. The existence of galls in reproductive organs and their effects on the host plant are seldom described in the literature. In this paper, we present a novel study of galls in plants of the neotropical region. Galls of Bruggmmaniella byrsonimae develop in the flower buds of Byrsonima sericea DC. (Malpighiaceae) and affect development of the reproductive organs and the reproductive effort of these plants. The sepals and petals show hypertrophy of parenchyma tissues after differentiation, and the stamens exhibit degeneration of the sporogenic tissue. The gynoecium is not entirely developed; ovary and ovules are often absent. Changes in vascular tissues are also frequent, which may indicate high demand for nutrient resources by the new tissues initiated by the larva. We compared the amount of inflorescences, galls and fruits to evaluate possible effects on host reproduction. The results suggest that the Cecidomyiidae galls in flower organs affect fruit set and the reproductive success of B. sericea.