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The occurrence and abundance of plants with extrafloral nectaries, the basis for antiherbivore defensive mutualisms, along a latitudinal gradient in east Asia

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Abstract. The occurrence and abundance of indigenous plants with extrafloral nectaries was evaluated within local communities and regional floras along a north to south gradient from tundra in northeastern Russia (64–70°N) through temperate types in eastern Russia and Korea to subtropical vegetation in the Bonin Islands (26–27°N) south of Japan. Moving from tundra to subtropical vegetation, there is a pattern of increasing abundance of extrafloral bearing plants as a function of total plant cover (from 10.25 to 40.18%), number of species per sampled area (from 0.11 to 1.13/100 m), and proportion of species within regional floras (from 0.32 to 7.46%). There were some plants with extrafloral nectaries in all communities but their abundance varied greatly, c. 1–25% in the four northern latitudes and c. 7–70% in the subtropical region. Ants, the primary mutualists associated with plants bearing extrafloral nectaries, have a similar pattern of increasing abundance (species richness, nest density, and colony size) along the same north–south latitudinal gradient.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Asian Parasite Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, c/o American Embassy, Seoul, South Korea

Publication date: July 1, 1998


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