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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306


ARRUDA, Rafael et al. Ecology of neotropical mistletoes: an important canopy-dwelling component of Brazilian ecosystems. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.2, pp.264-274. ISSN 0102-3306.

Mistletoes have been studied in temperate countries regularly because they can be pests of cultivated plants and forest plantations. In comparison with temperate habitats, little is known about the ecology of mistletoes in the Neotropics. More emphasis should be given to neotropical mistletoes because they could be important elements of plant communities, acting as key resources for pollinators, seed dispersers and herbivores. Using a combination of findings from early mistletoe studies and empirical evidence from several recent case studies, we report emerging patterns of mistletoe interactions with associated organisms and propose aims for further studies. There has been increasing interest in working with mistletoes in Brazil. Although there are some data on the ecology of mistletoe seed dispersal, reproductive biology studies are scarce and represent a wide range of fieldwork to be explored. Knowledge of the basic biology of mistletoes will be very important for modeling their spatial distribution using metapopulation or epidemiological approaches. In this review, we summarize the studies conducted in the neotropical region in order to provide a framework for current research and new ideas for future investigations of mistletoes, especially in Brazil.

Keywords : Hemiparasites; biological conservation; host specificity; host compatibility.

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