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The effects of floral display on pollinator visitation vary among populations ofPhacelia linearis (Hydrophyllaceae)

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Summary

Individual plants in gynodioecious populations ofPhacelia linearis (Hydrophyllaceae) vary in flower gender, flower size, and flower number. This paper reports the effects of variation in floral display on the visitation behaviour of this species' pollinators (mainly pollen-collecting solitary bees) in several natural and three experimental plant populations, and discusses the results in terms of the consequences for plant fitness. The working hypotheses were: (1) that because female plants do not produce pollen, pollen-collecting insects would visit hermaphrodite plants at a higher rate than female plants and would visit more flowers per hermaphrodite than per female; and (2) that pollinator arrival rate would increase with flower size and flower number, the two main components of visual display. These hypotheses were generally supported, but the effects of floral display on pollinator visitation varied substantially among plant populations. Hermaphrodites received significantly higher rates of pollinator arrivals and significantly higher rates of visits to flowers than did females in all experimental populations. Flower size affected arrival rate and flower visit rate positively in natural populations and in two of the three experimental populations. The flower size effect was significant only among female plants in one experimental population, and only among hermaphrodites in another. The effect of flower number on arrival rate was positive and highly significant in natural populations and in all experimental populations. In two out of three experimental populations, insects visited significantly more flowers per hermaphrodite than per female and visited more flowers on many-flowered plants than on few-flowered plants, but neither effect was detected in the third experimental population. Because seed production is not pollen-limited in this species, variation in pollinator visitation behaviour should mainly affect the male reproductive success of hermaphrodite plants. These findings suggest that pollinator-mediated natural selection for floral display inP. linearis varies in space and time.

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Eckhart, V.M. The effects of floral display on pollinator visitation vary among populations ofPhacelia linearis (Hydrophyllaceae). Evol Ecol 5, 370–384 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02214154

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Keywords

  • Pollination
  • Phacelia linearis
  • Hydrophyllaceae
  • gynodioecy
  • solitary bees