Less fit Lamium amplexicaule plants produce more dispersible seeds

Eyal Zinger, Ariel Gueijman, Uri Obolski, Yoav Ram, Eliya Ruby, Mor Binder, Nivi Yechieli, Nir Ohad*, Lilach Hadany

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theory predicts that less fit individuals would disperse more often than fitter ones (Fitness Associated Dispersal, FAD hypothesis). To test this prediction under laboratory conditions, an entire life cycle of Lamium amplexicaule plants and the preferences of its dispersal agent, Messor ebeninus ants, were tracked. Characterization of individual L. amplexicaule plant revealed high variability in spot cover on the surface of the seeds, where less fit plants produce “unspotted seeds” (see Fig. 1 in Introduction). Unspotted L. amplexicaule seeds showed higher variation in germination time and lower germination rate. Moreover, M. ebeninus ants preferably collected these unspotted seeds. Our results show that low fitness L. amplexicaule plants produce seeds with higher potential for dispersal, supporting the FAD hypothesis in a plant-animal system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6299
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2064/18, 1714/14

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