First evidence of insect attraction by a Southern Hemisphere Splachnaceae: The case of Tayloria dubyi Broth. in the Reserve Biosphere Cape Horn, Chile.
Jofre, Jocelyn; Goffinet, Bernard; Marino, Paul; Raguso, Robert A.; Nihei, Silvio Shigueo; Massardo, Francisca; Rozzi, Ricardo
The moss Tayloria dubyi (Splachnaceae) is endemic to the subantarctic Magallanes ecoregion where it grows exclusively on bird dung and perhaps only on feces of the goose Chloephaga picta, a unique habitat among Splachnaceae. Some species of Splachnaceae from the Northern Hemisphere are known to recruit coprophilous flies as a vector to disperse their spores by releasing intense odors mimicking fresh dung or decaying corpses. The flies land on the capsule, and may get in contact with the protruding mass of spores that stick to the insect body. The dispersal strategy relies on the spores falling off when the insect reaches fresh droppings or carrion. Germination is thought to be rapid and a new population is quickly established over the entire substrate. The objectives of this investigation were to determine whether the coprophilous T. dubyi attracts flies and to assess the taxonomic diversity of the flies visiting this moss. For this, fly traps were set up above mature sporophyte bearing populations in two peatlands on Navarino Island. We captured 64 flies belonging to the Muscidae (Palpibracus chilensis), Tachinidae (Dasyuromyia sp) and Sarcophagidae (not identified to species) above sporophytes of T. dubyi, whereas no flies were captured in control traps set up above Sphagnum mats nearby.