Geographical variation in damage tolerance: the case of oaks and weevils

The assertion that plants at lower latitudes should be better defended against enemies has a long historical basis but is still controversial. In the current study, Bogdziewicz et al. explore the interaction among holm oaks (Quercus ilex, Fagaceae) and seed predating weevils (Curculio spp., Coleoptera) in Spain.

Curculio weevil

They show that seed size is a plant trait influencing plant tolerance to endoparasites with higher survival of infested acorns, and oaks produce bigger seeds at southern populations. Consequently, oak tolerance to endoparasites is higher at lower latitudes. Seed-size mediated tolerance to predation is another dimension at which geographical trends in plant defences should be considered.

Further reading