Pre-dispersal seed predation by Tephritidae is common among species of Australian alpine Asteraceae
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This study examined levels of predation (% flower heads with insects and/or damage) and number of Tephritidae (seed-fly) in flower heads of 29 species of Australian alpine Asteraceae. Pre-dispersal seed predation was common among the Asteraceae, with all but four species with some flower heads containing Tephritidae. Levels of predation within species were also high, with most flower heads damaged in just under half of the species, and >90% of flower heads damaged in five species. Three species had flower heads containing Tephritis bushi (Diptera: Tephritidae, sp. nov.) while 23 species had flower heads containing Tephritis poenia (Diptera: Tephritidae (Walter)). Among species levels of all predation and number of Tephritidae per flower head were positively correlated with the diameter of the flower head, but not the colour or type of flower head. The expected positive association between pre-dispersal seed predation and altitude and the negative association between predation and flowering time were uncommon among populations of ten species tested. These results indicate that pre-dispersal seed predation is likely to be an important factor in the reproductive ecology of alpine Asteraceae, with species with larger diameter flower heads having higher levels of predation and more Tephritidae per flower head.
Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research
© 2009 University of Colorado. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.