Spatial variation in the fatty acid composition of elaiosomes in an ant-dispersed plant: Differences within and between individuals and populations

Mário Boieiro, Xavier Espadaler, Crisanto Gómez, Alba Eustaquio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Euphorbia characias is a common myrmecochorous plant of the western Mediterranean Basin whose seeds are dispersed by ants following fruit explosion. The variation in elaiosomes' fatty acid composition of this species was studied at three hierarchical levels (sub-individual, individual and population) in four populations from the Iberian Peninsula. We found that differences in fruit location on the inflorescence do not seem to influence the fatty acid composition of elaiosomes, providing to each propagule an equal chance of being dispersed. However, significant differences in elaiosome fatty acid composition between individuals and populations were found for most of the compounds identified. The content of oleic acid, a key mediator in the ant-seed interaction, differed widely between populations, probably reflecting geographic variations in co-adaptation between plants and their dispersers. The finding that the fatty acid composition of E. characias elaiosomes is distinct from that of the seed itself, but very similar to that of elaiosomes from unrelated species, reinforces the idea of convergent evolution in the chemical composition of these structures. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-502
JournalFlora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants
Volume207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012

Keywords

  • Architectural effects
  • Elaiosome
  • Euphorbia characias
  • Fatty acids
  • Myrmecochory
  • Oleic acid

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial variation in the fatty acid composition of elaiosomes in an ant-dispersed plant: Differences within and between individuals and populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this