Variation Among Floral Visitors in Pollination Ability: A Precondition for Mutualism Specialization

Science  03 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4661, pp. 519-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.225.4661.519


The unusual floral biology of a neotropical herb provided an opportunity to determine that floral visitors varied significantly in their ability to effect fruit-set. Pollination efficiency and visitation frequency varied among Hymenoptera (five taxa), which were responsible for 99 percent of all fruits set. Lepidoptera (four taxa) were common visitors but poor pollinators. These results indicate that flower visitors vary in their beneficial effects on plants, fulfilling one of the primary conditions required for the specialization of plants on pollinators.

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