Wednesday, March 30, 2016
STUDY: Mutualism fails when climate response differs between interacting species
I recently learned that Hepatica may set their seed "early" for our local species of Aphaenogaster (an ant) to take interest in dispersing their seeds. At least for where I am in New Jersey. The Aphaenogaster rudis we have in my yard and forests throughout New Jersey apparently become active "later in the year," than a different species, Aphaenogaster picea. To be honest though I didn't understand what the author meant in the study when they talked about later in the year or active earlier. A. picea is more common in northern parts of the US and Canada for sure, and apparently they're better about taking an interest in Hepatica seeds than A. rudis. However, when the Hepatica in my yard are dropping seeds it's already May or June and Aphaenogaster rudis very much "active" at that time. I'm not sure why the A. rudis don't bother with the seeds, maybe it's because the Hepatica I grow were all store bought and not a local genotype, but something is a miss here. Elaiosome should = ant food and for Aphaenogaster of all genera to ignore it means something is up here.