Facultative non-mutualistic behaviour by an "Obligate" mutualist: "Cheating" by Yucca moths

A. J. Tyre, J. F. Addicott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The interaction between yucca moths (Tegeticula spp., Incurvariidae) and yuccas (Yucca spp., Agavaceae) is an obligate pollination/seed predation mutualism in which adult female yucca moths pollinate yuccas, and yucca moth larvae feed on yucca seeds. In this paper we document that individual yucca moths, which are capable of acting as mutualists, facultatively "cheat" by ovipositing in yucca pistils without attempting to transfer pollen. Additionally, a high proportion of flowers are unlikely to receive pollen even when pollination is attempted, because many yucca moths carry little or no pollen. The probability of occurrence of non-mutualistic behaviour is not affected by the amount of pollen a moth carries: moths with full pollen loads are just as likely to act non-mutualistically as moths carrying little or no pollen. We propose four hypotheses that could explain facultative non-mutualistic behaviour in yucca moths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-175
Number of pages3
JournalOecologia
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 1993

Fingerprint

Prodoxidae
Yucca
moth
pollen
moths
Incurvariidae
Tegeticula
pollination
Asparagaceae
seed predation
mutualism
pistil
insect larvae
flowers
flower
seeds

Keywords

  • Cheating
  • Mutualism
  • Pollination
  • Yucca moths
  • Yuccas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Facultative non-mutualistic behaviour by an "Obligate" mutualist : "Cheating" by Yucca moths. / Tyre, A. J.; Addicott, J. F.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 94, No. 2, 01.05.1993, p. 173-175.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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