Stratum, tree, and flower selection by tropical bees: implications for the reproductive biology of outcrossing Cochlospermum vitifolium in Panama.

D. W. Roubik, J. D. Ackerman, C. Copenhaver, Brian Smith

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Abstract

Forager behavior in 3 patches of flowering Cochlospermum vitifolium (Malvales, Cochlospermaceae) and fruit, flower, seed, and ovule number on trees in 6 sites were used to study the role of bee pollinators in tree reproductive success. Anthophorid bees of the genus Centris were the most important pollinators. Behavior of both small and large Centris species indicated no consistent preference for flowers either in the densest floral arrays or within the stratum containing most flowers in the local flowering population. Flowers 7-12m in height were never visited more often than flowers = or <4m from ground level. However, within groups of 5-33 flowers, Centris visited on average at least 50% of the flowers during a foraging bout. Pollinating bees were indiscriminate in selecting inflorescences within floral arrays, but they appeared to maximize the rate of resource harvest once a small group of flowers was entered. Cochlospermum fruit contained an average seed number equal to 13% of the average ovule number per flower. Seed-set per fruit was no higher among flowers visited more often by pollinators than among flowers visited less frequently. Female competition for pollinators was not detected, but male competition may have occurred at a site where bees preferred flowers that were most abundant in the patch as a whole. Efficient outcrossing of a tree is in direct conflict with the optimal foraging of its pollinators. Cochlospermum may manipulate pollinators by 1) presenting small numbers of open flowers, 2) presenting large, conspicuous flowers and no leaves, and 3) providing only pollen concealed in poricidal anthers as a reward. If pollinators rather than the physiological capacity of a tree limited reproductive success, this probably arose from deposition of incompatible pollen on stigmas, rather than intertree competition or low pollinator abundance.-Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-720
Number of pages9
JournalEcology
Volume63
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

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Cochlospermum
outcrossing
reproductive biology
Panama
bee
Apoidea
flower
pollinating insects
flowers
Biological Sciences
pollinator
Centris
fruit
ovules
reproductive success
flowering
fruits
Bixaceae
pollen
Malvales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Stratum, tree, and flower selection by tropical bees : implications for the reproductive biology of outcrossing Cochlospermum vitifolium in Panama. / Roubik, D. W.; Ackerman, J. D.; Copenhaver, C.; Smith, Brian.

In: Ecology, Vol. 63, No. 3, 1982, p. 712-720.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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