Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 1183–1193 | Cite as

Breeding system of the subantarctic plant species Pringlea antiscorbutica R. Br. and search for potential insect pollinators in the Kerguelen Islands

  • Agnès Schermann-LegionnetEmail author
  • Françoise Hennion
  • Philippe Vernon
  • Anne Atlan
Original Paper


The reproductive biology of Pringlea antiscorbutica R. Br. (Brassicaceae), an endemic species from the southern Indian Ocean islands, is investigated here. Controlled crosses were performed between plants grown in a common garden on the Kerguelen Islands. Searching for potential insect pollinators, we investigated the flying ability of all insects known from the Kerguelen Islands. We showed evidence for self-compatibility, low pollen limitation in the absence of a biotic pollen vector and slight selfing depression in P. antiscorbutica. The insects present on the islands are mostly wingless and are not likely to be efficient pollinators of this species. Since P. antiscorbutica shows morphological adaptations to insect pollination despite the absence of pollinators in its present range, we conclude that this species recently evolved from insect pollination to wind and/or autonomous pollination.


Pringlea antiscorbutica Subantarctic islands Breeding system Pollinators 



This work was initiated by a grant by UMR 6553 CNRS/University of Rennes 1. Experiments on Kerguelen were supported by the French Polar Institute (Programmes 340, 136 and 407) and the CNRS. We thank R. Douce for coordination of programme 340, J. Leneveu for efficient and meticulous work in Kerguelen, V. Quidelleur and F. Quemmerais for the preliminary experiments, N. Schermann for help with data analysis. We are very grateful to M. Lebouvier and Y. Frenot for their coordination between Rennes and Kerguelen. We thank two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on a previous version of the manuscript, A. Cloarec and R. H. Britton for English improvement.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnès Schermann-Legionnet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Françoise Hennion
    • 1
  • Philippe Vernon
    • 2
  • Anne Atlan
    • 1
  1. 1.UMR ECOBIO 6553CNRS, University of Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance
  2. 2.UMR ECOBIO 6553CNRS, University of Rennes 1PaimpontFrance

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