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Revista Brasileira de Entomologia

Print version ISSN 0085-5626

Abstract

CARNEIRO, Marco Antonio A.; FERNANDES, Geraldo Wilson; SOUZA, Og F. F. de  and  SOUZA, Wyller Vicente M.. Sex-mediated herbivory by galling insects on Baccharis concinna (Asteraceae). Rev. Bras. entomol. [online]. 2006, vol.50, n.3, pp. 394-398. ISSN 0085-5626.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0085-56262006000300009.

The interaction patterns between the dioecious shrub Baccharis concinna Barroso (Asteraceae) and its speciose galling insect community were studied in southeastern Brazil. Two hypotheses were tested in this study: "the differential reproduction and growth hypothesis" that predicts that male plants present fewer reproductive structures and are larger than female plants; and the 'sex-biased herbivory hypothesis' that predicts that male plants support a larger abundance of insect galls than female plants. Plants did not show sexual dimorphism in growth (= mean leaf number). However, male plants had longer shoots and a lower average number of inflorescences than female plants. These results corroborate the hypothesis that male plants grow more and reproduce less than female plants. No statistically significant difference was found in the number of galls between male and female plants, but a sex by environmental effect on gall number was detected. When each species of galling insect was individually analyzed per population of the host plant, the rates of attack varied between sex and population of the host plant, and they were highly variable among the species of galling insects. These results highlight the importance of the interaction between sex and environment in the community structure of galling insects and indicate that other variables besides host sex may influence the patterns of attack by galling herbivores.

Keywords : Dioecy; community structure; insect galls; plant gender; plant-animal interactions.

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