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Paris, 12 july 2013

Sanction mechanism identified between ants and host plants

In nature, many forms of plant-animal mutualism exist in which each partner benefits from the presence of the other. Although mutualistic interactions offer advantages for both partners, they are nonetheless a source of conflict. CNRS researchers from Toulouse III University – Paul Sabatier and the IRD have recently observed an original sanction interaction between a plant and an ant. In French Guiana, the Hirtella physophora plant is capable of retaliating against the "guest ants" that prevent it from flowering. These results illustrate the importance of sanction mechanisms, which prevent a mutualistic partner from becoming a parasite. This work was published in Evolutionary Biology dated 12 July 2013.

To download the press release : fourmis plantes

References:

Malé PJG, Ferdy JB, Leroy C, Roux O, Lauth J, Avilez A, Dejean A, Quilichini A & Orivel J. 2013. Retaliation in response to castration promotes a low level of virulence in an ant-plant mutualism. Evolutionary Biology.

Contact information:

Researcher l Pierre-Jean G. Malé l T +33 (0)5 61 55 74 86 l pjg.male@gmail.com

CNRS Press officer l Laetitia Louis l T +33 (0)1 44 96 51 37 l laetitia.louis@cnrs-dir.fr


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