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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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