Petal Herbivory by Chrysomelid Beetles (Phyllotreta sp.) is Detrimental to Pollination and Seed Production in Lepidium Papilliferum (Brassicaceae)

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1. Insect herbivory directed at flowers can decrease fruit and seed production by decreasing the attractiveness of a damaged flower to potential pollinators, by disrupting the transfer of pollen between pollinators and stigmas, or both.

2. Effects of petal herbivory by a chrysomelid beetle (Phyllotreta sp.) on pollination and seed production in Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae) were examined.

3. Under natural conditions, flowers with a hole chewed in a petal produced fruit and seed at a significantly lower rate than undamaged flowers (44% vs. 80% respectively). However, when damaged and undamaged flowers were hand pollinated, there was no significant difference in fruit or seed set (84% vs. 80% respectively).

4. Petal herbivory in L. papilliferum disrupts the effectiveness of insect-mediated pollination, but it does not physically inhibit pollination or seed production.