Chapter

Mutualism from Antagonism: <i>Ants and Flowers</i>

Victor Rico-Gray and Paulo S. Oliveira

in The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226713472
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226713540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226713540.003.0005
Mutualism from Antagonism: Ants and Flowers

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The evolution of interactions between plants and their pollinators provides some of the clearest examples of change in the outcome of interactions from antagonistic to mutualistic. Early insect pollinators of angiosperms fed on pollen, ovules, seeds, and flower parts. The vast majority of these interactions were detrimental to the plants, and the closed carpels of angiosperms were probably a defense against these flower visitors. However, these antagonistic interactions provided a basis on which selection could act, because some flower visitors were less detrimental to flower parts than others, while some plants possessed floral traits that caused the interaction to be less detrimental to the plant and, at some point in time, beneficial. This chapter explores antagonism and mutualism between ants and flowers, focusing on pollination by ants and how ants discourage floral visits.

Keywords: ants; pollination; floral visits; plants; flowers; angiosperms; antagonism; mutualism

Chapter.  4700 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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