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Seed dispersal. Directed deterrence by capsaicin in chilies

PainSci » bibliography » Tewksbury et al 2001
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One article on PainSci cites Tewksbury 2001: Heat for Pain and Rehab

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

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 chili (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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