Invasive ant interferes with gecko's role in pollinating endangered plant
November 28, 2008
Nectar-feeding male P. cepediana day gecko approaching a flower of T. blackburniana. Photo by Dennis Hansen.
Hansen and Müller found that the blue-tailed gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) — a species responsible for pollination and seed dispersal of the Roussea simplex shrub — avoids plants that have been colonized by the invasive white-footed ant (Technomyrmex albipes). Colonized individuals have lower seed counts, suggesting that ants are taking a toll on the rare species.
Hansen and Müller led research published last year in American Naturalist revealing the importance of the day gecko in pollination of plants endemic to Mauritius: Neon green gecko key to preventing Mauritian plant extinction (April 17, 2007)
- Dennis M. Hansen and Christine B. Müller. Invasive Ants Disrupt Gecko Pollination and Seed Dispersal of the Endangered Plant Roussea simplex in Mauritius. Published Online: Oct 31 2008 DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2008.00473.x
- Matt Kaplan. Invasive ant ruins gecko's sweet relationship. New Scientist 28 November 2008