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Ecology of the fruit-colour polymorphism in Rubus spectabilis

Autor Traveset, Anna ; Willson, Mary F.
Palabras clave Colour preferences
Avian seed dispersal
Southeast Alaska
Seed germination
Fruit polymorphism
Fecha de publicación 1998
EditorKluwer Academic Publishers
Citación Evolutionary Ecology 12(3): 331-345 (1998)
ResumenAlthough some studies have focused on the colour polymorphisms of flowers and fruits, little is known of their ecological and evolutionary significance. We investigated the potential contribution of several factors to the maintenance of fruit-colour polymorphism in Rubus spectabilis, a common shrub in the temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska. Fruits occur in two colours (red and orange), whose frequencies vary geographically. The two colour morphs have similar size, weight, seed load and nutrient composition. Colour preferences of avian frugivores, in the aviary and in the field, varied among individuals, but the majority favoured red fruits. Seed predators (mostly rodents) did not discriminate between seeds from different morphs. The effect of seed passage through the digestive tract of frugivores (birds and bears) on germination was similar for both morphs, although there were significant differences among frugivores. The type of soil on which the seeds are deposited influenced their germination behaviour, suggesting that some soils could favour one morph over the other. Such differences may contribute to the regional differences in frequencies of the two morphs. This study emphasizes the need to investigate fruit and seed characteristics that correlate with fruit colour; the colour preferences of consumers is only one of several selection pressures that determine the frequency distribution of fruit colours.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1006504317585
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10261/110819
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1023/A:1006504317585
issn: 0269-7653
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