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A new species of Aspidistra (Ruscaceae s.l., Asparagales) from southern Vietnam, field observations on its flowering and possible pollination by flies (Phoridae)

Abstract

The genus Aspidistra with almost 100 species is the most diverse in southern China and northern Vietnam. We describe a new species Aspidistra phanluongii N.Vislobokov from southern Vietnam. Species of Aspidistra are herbs characteristic of Southeast Asian forests. Flowering of these plants can be considered cryptic. There are no recorded field observations on phenology, biology of flowering or pollination of Aspidistra. Previously proposed pollinators of Aspidistra include collembolans, amphipods, fungus gnats (Diptera: Mycetophilidae, Sciaridae) and even slugs. We present observation data on the flowering of A. phanluongii in the wild. Flowers were visited by flies of Megaselia (Phoridae) and ants. Megaselia flies, well-known pollinators of numerous tropical plant species, are shown to be likely pollinators of Aspidistra phanluongii. The present study does not provide evidence of pollination by fungus gnats.

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Acknowledgments

We are indebted to Tatiana Galinskaya (Department of Entomology, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University) for identification of flies visiting Aspidistra flowers, and Gennady Dlussky (Department of Biological Evolution, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University) for identification of ants. We are grateful to Maxim Nuraliev for extensive contribution to field work in February 2011 and helpful discussion, to Anna Vasilieva for collecting additional fixed material and field observations and to Alexander Anichkin for generous help and many important suggestions during field work in November–December 2011. We are grateful to Alexei Polilov, Margarita Remizowa and Vadim Mokievsky for helpful discussion, to Leonid Averyanov for copies of his publications, to two anonymous reviewers for important comments and to Maria Vorontsova for helpful comments and linguistic corrections. Field work was supported by the Joint Russian–Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Centre (JRVTRTC). We are grateful to Trinh Quoc Khanh (General Director of Vietnamese part of JRVTRTC) and Nguyen Dang Hoi (Deputy Director of Vietnamese part of JRVTRTC) for their support of this research and help in organization of field work, and to our colleagues from JRVTRTC Vu Manh and Nguyen Vu for their direct help during field work. We are grateful to the staff of the Department of Electron Microscopy at Moscow University for their kind assistance and providing SEM facilities. Funding from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research is gratefully acknowledged (project 12-04-31073).

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Correspondence to Nikolay A. Vislobokov.

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Vislobokov, N.A., Kuznetsov, A.N. & Sokoloff, D.D. A new species of Aspidistra (Ruscaceae s.l., Asparagales) from southern Vietnam, field observations on its flowering and possible pollination by flies (Phoridae). Plant Syst Evol 299, 347–355 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-012-0725-2

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Keywords

  • Aspidistra
  • Flies
  • Taxonomy
  • Flower biology
  • Pollination
  • Phoridae
  • Southern Vietnam