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Host fidelity of the pollinator guilds of Silene dioica and S. latifolia: possible consequences for sympatric host race differentiation of a vectored plant disease

Van Putten, W.F. and Elzinga, J.A. and Biere, A. (2007) Host fidelity of the pollinator guilds of Silene dioica and S. latifolia: possible consequences for sympatric host race differentiation of a vectored plant disease. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 168, 421-434. ISSN 1058-5893.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/511050

Abstract

Host fidelity can play an important role in sympatric host race formation of phytophagous insects by providing a mechanism for prezygotic reproductive isolation. Similarly, but less recognized, host fidelity of insects could provide a mechanism for maintaining host-specific differentiation among insect-vectored pathogens. We studied the transfer of fluorescent dye–mimicking spores of the pollinator-transmitted anther smut fungus Microbotryum violaceum in experimental plots of two of its closely related hosts, Silene dioica and Silene latifolia. Mean rates of diurnal interspecific transfer were 26% from S. latifolia to S. dioica and 34% in the reverse direction, suggesting that host fidelity of pollinators per se cannot account for the maintenance of genetically differentiated host races of this fungus observed in sympatry. In a large natural sympatric population of the two hosts, S. dioica flowers experienced a sixfold higher probability of receiving spores from conspecifics than from heterospecifics during the time frame of susceptibility to successful systemic infection due to their earlier onset of flowering. Also, spores from heterospecifics were an order of magnitude farther away than spores from conspecifics. We therefore speculate that the observed sympatric host-specific differentiation is due to a combination of factors, including vector behavior and host spatial and temporal structure.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:4548
Deposited On:16 Sep 2009 02:00
Last Modified:15 Jan 2014 09:21

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