Leaf herbivores decrease fitness of a tropical plant

  • Marquis R
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Damage by insect herbivores to neighboring individuals of the shrub Piper arieianum in a neotropical wet forest varies greatly. This differential damage has a genetic basis and results in a 2-year decrease in growth, seed production, and seed viability, with larger plants recovering before smaller plants. The results provide evidence that leaf herbivores represent a potentially strong selective force for the evolution of plant defenses.

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  • Robert J. Marquis

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