Microarthropods Mediate Sperm Transfer in Mosses

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Science  01 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5791, pp. 1255
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128707

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Among flowering plants, animals commonly act as pollinators. We showed that fertile moss shoots attract springtails and mites, which in turn carry moss sperm, thereby enhancing the fertilization process. Previously, fertilization of mosses was thought to depend on the capacity of individual sperm to swim through a continuous water layer. The role of microarthropods in moss fertilization resembles the role of animals as pollinators of flowering plants but may be evolutionarily much older because of the antiquity of the organism groups involved.

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