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How to be a dioecious fig: Chemical mimicry between sexes matters only when both sexes flower synchronously

Hossaert-McKey, M and Proffit, M and Soler, CCL and Chen, C and Bessiere, Jean-Marie and Schatz, B and Borges, Renee M (2016) How to be a dioecious fig: Chemical mimicry between sexes matters only when both sexes flower synchronously. In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6 .

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep21236


In nursery pollination mutualisms, which are usually obligate interactions, olfactory attraction of pollinators by floral volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is the main step in guaranteeing partner encounter. However, mechanisms ensuring the evolutionary stability of dioecious fig-pollinator mutualisms, in which female fig trees engage in pollination by deceit resulting in zero reproductive success of pollinators that visit them, are poorly understood. In dioecious figs, individuals of each sex should be selected to produce odours that their pollinating wasps cannot distinguish, especially since pollinators have usually only one choice of a nursery during their lifetime. To test the hypothesis of intersexual chemical mimicry, VOCs emitted by pollen-receptive figs of seven dioecious species were compared using headspace collection and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. First, fig-flower scents varied significantly among species, allowing host-species recognition. Second, in species in which male and female figs are synchronous, intersexual VOC variation was not significant. However, in species where figs of both sexes flower asynchronously, intersexual variation of VOCs was detectable. Finally, with one exception, there was no sexual dimorphism in scent quantity. We show that there are two ways to use scent to be a dioecious fig based on differences in flowering synchrony between the sexes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, MACMILLAN BUILDING, 4 CRINAN ST, LONDON N1 9XW, ENGLAND
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2016 09:42
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 09:11
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53466

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