Seed dispersal: Directed deterrence by capsaicin in chillies

  title={Seed dispersal: Directed deterrence by capsaicin in chillies},
  author={Joshua J. Tewksbury and Gary Paul Nabhan},
The primary function of ripe, fleshy fruit is to facilitate seed dispersal by attracting consumers, yet many fruits contain unpleasant-tasting chemicals that deter consumption by vertebrates. Here we investigate this paradox in the chilli (Capsicum) and find that capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the fruit's peppery heat, selectively discourages vertebrate predators without deterring more effective seed dispersers. 
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The hypothesis that plants experience a tradeoff between seed dispersal and fruit defense is supported, but the strength of this tradeoff and the overall fitness consequences may depend strongly on ecological context.
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  • K. Burns
  • Environmental Science
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  • 2012
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  • D. Janzen
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It is argued that nutritionally unbalanced fruits or those with secondary compounds probably serve indirectly as a means of increasing the potential for plant coexistence through their diversifying effects on diet selection by individual frugivores.
Secondary Metabolites Of Fleshy Vertebrate‐Dispersed Fruits: Adaptive Hypotheses And Implications For Seed Dispersal
It is concluded that synergistic interactions and multifunctionality in secondary metabolites may provide economical evolutionary solutions for plants facing disparate and temporally variable selective pressures that impinge on fruits and seeds.
In Situ Conservation of Wild Chiles and Their Biotic Associates
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The beneficial effects particularly associated with long usage by some ethnic groups and its safe consumption levels, with a critical review of the studies on the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, the sensory system, thermoregulation, nutritional impacts, and an overview of the five series are detailed.
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