Insect-fern interactions are not as well characterized as insect-angiosperm interactions. For example, the imitation of unique fern structures by insects has not been observed. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, we collected ferns that bore small Lepidoptera imitating fern sori. Herbarium specimen searches indicate that these Lepidoptera are restricted to the Caribbean on ferns with highly visible sporangia. A possible selective pressure for the evolution of lepidopteran soral crypsis is wasp parasitism, as evidence of parasitoid wasps was found. However, it is more likely that soral crypsis evolved to avoid visually oriented predators such as birds or lizards.
- Leptosporangiate ferns
- Plant-insect interactions
- Wasp parasitoids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics