Abstract Detail


Glos, Rosemary [1], Weber, Marjorie [1].

Trichome-mediated defense in Mentzelia (Loasaceae).

Plants have developed an array of specialized hairs to defend themselves against herbivores. Barbed, pointed, glandular, and stinging trichomes can serve many defensive functions, including repelling herbivores, reducing palatability, exuding noxious chemicals, and even catching prey to attract beneficial insect predators. Trichome morphology can vary greatly across closely related species and even between organs on a single plant. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this diversity, but most remain untested, and we lack a general understanding of the ecological factors driving defensive trichome evolution. I will examine trichome-mediated interactions in Mentzelia, which belongs to the family, Loasaceae, which boasts the most complex trichome cover of any plant group. Mentzelia species may face a trade-off between the production of insect-trapping defensive hairs and the attraction of beneficial bodyguard ants via postfloral nectar. In this study, I will test whether trichomes facilitate indirect defense via trapped insect carrion and evaluate whether the presence of postfloral nectar is correlated with the reduced production of insect-catching trichomes in a range of Mentzelia species. The results will deepen our knowledge of plant-arthropod interactions in an understudied family and provide important insights into the evolution of trichome diversity.

1 - Michigan State University , Plant Biology Laboratories, 612 Wilson Road, Room 262, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA

plant-insect ecology
indirect defense

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC039
Abstract ID:66
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved