, Volume 126, Issue 3, pp 386–394

How do visitation patterns vary among pollinators in relation to floral display and floral design in a generalist pollination system?

  • J. D. Thompson


Diverse pollinator assemblages may impose complex selection and thus limit specialisation to particular pollinators. Previous work has concentrated on how visitation rates of different pollinators vary in space and time and how pollinators may vary in efficiency. In this study I quantify variation in visitation rates and foraging behaviour of different insect types (1) in space and time and (2) in relation to variation in floral design (flower size and form) and floral display (number of open flowers) for the distylous clonal shrub Jasminum fruticans. Mean visitation rate showed a significant interaction between insect type and population for seven populations in one year, and between insect types and years for a single population over 3 years. There was also a significant interaction between insect type and population for the proportion of flowers visited. In general the number of visits was positively related to the number of open flowers in a patch, but analyses by insect type showed that this was only true for bee flies and butterflies. Short-tongued bees showed a positive relationship between visitation rate and the number of open flowers on the focal stem, and hawkmoths and butterflies made more visits to plants with larger flowers. Hawkmoths were the only insect type to show a positive relation between the number of flowers visited per foraging bout and flower size. The significant differences between different insect types in patterns of variation in visitation rates in response to floral design and display may act to diversify selection on floral traits, and thereby constrain specialisation of the plant to particular pollinators.


Clonality Heterostyly Floral traits Oleaceae Mediterranean 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et EvolutiveC.N.R.S.Montpellier cedex 5France

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