elaiosome


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Related to elaiosome: Myrmecochory

elaiosome

(ɪˈleɪəˌsəʊm)
n
(Botany) an oil-rich body on seeds or fruits that attracts ants, which act as dispersal agents
[from Greek elaion oil + -some3]
References in periodicals archive ?
He observed it apparently feeding on the attenuated base (the attachment area) of the achene, and concluded that the base was an elaiosome, i.
Further observations suggest that the seed damage occurs primarily to the seed elaiosome and secondarily impacts the seed coat.
Although ants are not attracted from a distance to these seeds (Sheridan and others 1996), upon contact with the elaiosome, ants are stimulated to carry the elaiosome (and secondarily the attached seed) to their nests.
Ants can vary in whether elaiosomes are detached in situ or whole seeds are transported, and in the distances and destinations of seeds if seeds are transported.
A study of the reaction of ants to elaiosomes and chemical analysis of elaiosomes suggests a strong convergence between elaiosomes and insects that are prey for ants (Hughes and others 1994).
Small species of ants tend to remove parts of elaiosomes from large-seeded plants, rather than attempt to carry whole seeds (Espadaler and Gomez 1997; Andersen and Morrison 1998), and worker size strongly influences dispersal distance (Beattie and others 1979; Pudlo and others 1980; Weseloh 1994; G6mez and Espadaler 199819).