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Brazilian Journal of Botany

Print version ISSN 0100-8404


RIBEIRO, Sérvio Pontes; CORREA, Tatiana Lopez  and  SOUSA, Hildeberto Caldas de. Microscopic variability in mechanical defence and herbivory response in microphyllous leaves of tropical herb species from Serra do Cipó, Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2010, vol.33, n.2, pp.237-246. ISSN 0100-8404.

Tropical high altitude grasslands present several species with both microphyllous and highly sclerophyllous leaves, and co-occur in specific soil patches, thus exposed to identical environments. In this article we describe herbivory among co-occurring microphyllous species in a tropical high altitude grassland ecosystem of Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais state, and we tested the effect of variable anatomic traits on leaf herbivory patterns. Leaf anatomical traits were investigated for Baccharis imbricata Heering , Lavoisiera imbricata DC. and L. subulata Triana (focal species). Herbivory was measured from branches and leaves of individual plants and compared among co-occurring species within one multispecific shrub patch and among L. subulata individuals from this patch and an adjacent monospecific patch. For all present plant species and individuals we estimated the proportion of leaves with different levels of area lost. For the focal species, six leaves were sorted and taken for histological sectioning, in order to allow precise measures of defensive structures. Relative mean leaf area lost differed significantly among the six species found in the multispecific patch. Lavoisiera subulata individuals were more attacked in the multispecific than in the monospecific patch. Leaf margin protection traits in both B. imbricata and L. imbricata showed significant effect against herbivory. Data suggest that some anatomic traits have direct effect against herbivory but their effect are not clearly perceptible among branches within individual plants or among plants within the same species.

Keywords : Asteraceae; fibres; insect-plant interaction; Melastomataceae; sclerophylly.

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