Gender-Related developmental instability and herbivory of Pistacia atlantica across a steep environmental gradient

Moshe Inbar, Salit Kark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To examine gender-related developmental instability and herbivory of a plant across a steep climatic gradient, we studied Pistacia atlantica DESF., a dioecious tree of the Irano-Turanian zone in the Middle East. Leaves were sampled from five populations along a climatic gradient in Israel from mesic Mediterranean to xeric (and geographically peripheral) sites. Leaves of the xeric populations were ca. 25% smaller in size (length) than leaves of other populations. Leaf developmental instability (an indicator of stress) was examined using the measurement of leaf asymmetry (LA), estimated by the deviation from the origin of paired lateral leaflets and by the presence vs. absence of the terminal leaflet. LA was not correlated with the climatic (site) gradient and had the highest, though not significantly, levels in the intermediate ecotonal zone between the Mediterranean and the arid ecosystems. Male trees were 13% higher in LA than females. Density of two specialist gall-forming aphids varied with site but was not affected by plant gender. Gender-related developmental instability is discussed in relation to resource allocation in early spring. Because the study was limited to five populations further research is clearly needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalFolia Geobotanica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • Aphids
  • Environmental stress
  • Fordinae
  • Gall
  • Gender
  • Leaf asymmetry
  • Peripheral populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Paleontology


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