Print version ISSN 0103-8478
MATOS, Cláudia Helena Cysneiros; PALLINI, Angelo; BELLINI, Luiz Luciano and FREITAS, Rita Cristina Pereira de. Domatia mediating plant defense. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2006, vol.36, n.3, pp. 1021-1026. ISSN 0103-8478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-84782006000300050.
Leaf domatia are small structures found on the underside of the leaves of many plants of agricultural importance. Domatia have been described to be typically inhabited by mites (predators and fungivorous) that provide benefits to the plant. The structures can be extremely complex and seem to have an unknown physiological function. It has been postulated that mites may get some benefit from leaf domatia by securing a safe place for reproduction and refuge from predators. Additionally, plants get benefits via reduced herbivory or pathogen attack. Hence, ecologists have hypothesized that domatia mediate a mutualistic association between plants and their bodyguard mites. In this review we discussed the pivotal role of the domatia in plant defenses against small arthropods.
Keywords : tritrophic interaction; mite; mutualism; constitutive defense; leaf structures.