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Seed parasitism redirects ovule development in Douglas fir

Abstract : Many parasitic species of insects complete their entire development in seeds. They feed off storage reserves within the ovule. These reserves only normally accumulate in fertilized ovules. Consequently, female insects that oviposit their eggs directly into the plant ovule need to be able to select correctly, as unfertilized ovules of conifers normally become so-called empty seed. We provide clear evidence that in conifers, seed-parasitizing insects do not need to discriminate between fertilized and unfertilized plant ovules when ovipositing their eggs. A host-specific insect, the chalcid Megastigmus spermotrophus Wachtl (Hymenoptera: Torymidae), lays its eggs in ovules of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco) before fertilization has taken place in the plant. Oviposition not only prevents the expected degeneration and death of unfertilized ovules, but it induces energy reserve accumulation. Ovules that would otherwise develop as empty seed are redirected in their development by the insect to provide food for the developing larvae. Instead of the insect exploiting normal events during seed development, the insect manipulates seed development for its own reproductive advantage.
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https://hal-univ-lyon1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02570042
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Submitted on : Monday, May 11, 2020 - 5:10:30 PM
Last modification on : Monday, June 15, 2020 - 10:50:04 AM

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P. von Aderkas, G. Rouault, R. Wagner, René Rohr, A. Roques. Seed parasitism redirects ovule development in Douglas fir. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2005, 272 (1571), pp.1491-1496. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2005.3061⟩. ⟨hal-02570042⟩

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