, Volume 291, Issue 1-2, pp 25-33
Date: 26 Oct 2010

Heterodichogamy and nitidulid beetle pollination in Anaxagorea prinoides, an early divergent Annonaceae

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Heterodichogamy in a natural population of an Annonaceae species from the rainforests of French Guiana is described for the first time. Anaxagorea prinoides had bisexual flowers and two floral morphs within the studied population were protogynous. The population under study comprised 7 mature trees belonging to one morph and 12 to the other. Statistical analyses showed that the two morphs were in a 50:50% ratio, and therefore the temporal sexual pattern of heterodichogamy is given. When anthesis of flowers in the male stage ended in one morph, anthesis started with flowers in the female stage in the complementary morph. Approximately 1 h before the end of anthesis in one morph, flowers of the reciprocal morph started to emit a fruit-like scent. The temporal separation of the female and the male stages of the two different morphs lasted only approximately 1 h. Six of the seven identified compounds in the banana-like floral scent were esters and one was an alcohol. The main compounds examined are known to be components of fruit scents. Nitidulidae beetles of the genus Colopterus were the pollinators of A. prinoides and during flowering were maintained within the population of this species. This was not only due to the fact that the beetles remained sheltered in the pollination chamber of the flowers, but also because upon release from individuals of male-stage flowers at the end of flower anthesis they were attracted by the odoriferous female-stage flowers of other individuals of the same population. Heterodichogamy of A. prinoides appears to be a means by which reproductive success is augmented. Attraction of beetle pollinators by “fruit-imitating” floral scent is not restricted to species of Anaxagorea, but occurs in many representatives of the Annonaceae.