Cite as:
Soltau, U.; D&ouml;tterl, S. &amp; Liede-Schumann, S. (2009): <b>Leaf variegation in Caladium steudneriifolium (Araceae): a case of mimicry?</b>. <i>Evolutionary Ecology</i> <b>23</b>, 503-512.

Resource Description

Title: Leaf variegation in Caladium steudneriifolium (Araceae): a case of mimicry?
Short Name: Leaf variegation in Caladium steudneriifolium
FOR816dw ID: 601
Publication Date: 2009-01-01
License and Usage Rights:
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Ulf Soltau
Individual: Stefan Dötterl
Individual: Sigrid Liede-Schumann
The leaves of Caladium steudneriifolium (Araceae) of the understorey of a submontane rainforest in the Podocarpus National Park (South East Ecuador, 1,060 m a.s.l.) are plain green or patterned with whitish variegation. Of the 3,413 individual leaves randomly chosen and examined in April 2003, two-thirds were plain green, whereas one third were variegated (i.e., whitish due to absence of chloroplasts). Leaves of both morphs are frequently attacked by mining moth caterpillars. Our BLAST analysis based on Cytochrome-c-Oxidase-subunit-1 sequences suggests that the moth is possibly a member of the Pyraloidea or another microlepidopteran group. It was observed that the variegated<br/> leaf zones strongly resemble recent damages caused by mining larvae and therefore may mimic an attack by moth larvae. Infestation was significantly 4?12 times higher for green leaves than for variegated leaves. To test the hypothesis that variegation can be interpreted as mimicry to deter ovipositing moths, we first ruled out the possibility that variegation is a function of canopy density (i.e., that the moths might be attracted or deterred by factors unrelated to the plant). Then plain green leaves were artificially variegated and the number of mining larvae counted after 3 months. The results on infestation rate (7.88% of green leaves, 1.61% of the variegated leaves, 0.41% of white manipulated leaves and 9.12% of uncoloured manipulated leaves) suggest that ovipositing moths are deterred by the minerinfestation mimicry. Thus, variegation might be beneficial for the plants despite the implicated loss of photosynthetically active surface.
Literature type specific fields:
Journal: Evolutionary Ecology
Volume: 23
Page Range: 503-512
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Dietrich Göttlicher
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