Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Domatia mediate plantarthropod mutualism

Naturevolume 387pages562563 (1997) | Download Citation



Leaf domatia are small hair-tufts or pockets on the lower surface of leaves, and are exceedingly common among perennial angiosperms, having been reported in 277 plant families and nearly 2,000 species1. Domatia seem to provide refuges for predatory arthropods. Here we show that cotton plants with experimentally added leaf domatia host larger populations of predatory arthropods and smaller populations of herbivorous mites than control plants. Total fruit production was increased by 30 per cent in plants with domatia — the first demonstration that plants benefit from their presence.

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  1. Department of Entomology, Center for Population Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, 95616-8584, California, USA

    • Anurag A. Agrawal
    •  & Richard Karban


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