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The function of extrafloral nectaries in opuntia acanthocarpa cactaceae

, : The function of extrafloral nectaries in opuntia acanthocarpa cactaceae. American Journal of Botany 66(6): 618-625

O. acanthocarpa (Cactaceae) possesses extrafloral nectaries embedded in the areoles of new reproductive and vegetative growth. The nectar secreted by these glands attracts ants and is a nutritional food source. Members of 1 attracted ant species, Crematogaster opuntiae (Myrmicinae), are aggressive and efficient defenders of the plants against cactus-feeding insects. The ant-guard hypothesis for the role of extrafloral nectaries in O. acanthocarpa was supported. Additionally, individuals of O. acanthocarpa are well-protected in comparison with those of O. phaeacantha. The latter generally possess ephemeral extrafloral nectaries and consistently maintain fewer ants.

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Accession: 006680366

DOI: 10.2307/2442406

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Related references

Mauseth J.D., 1982: Development and ultrastructure of extrafloral nectaries in ancistrocactus scheeri cactaceae. Extrafloral nectaries of A. scheeri appear to be modified spines because they are formed by an areole meristem, are unvascularized and have no trichomes or stomata. The vascularized stalk of the gland is interpreted as a tubercle-derived outgrowth...

Clark, WH.; Blom, PE., 1979: Observations of ants visiting extrafloral nectaries of the barrel cactus, Ferocactus gracilis Gates (Cactaceae), in Baja California, Mexico. Washington State Entomological Society Proceedings, 560-561 No. 41

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