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Differences in pollinator effectiveness of birds and insects visiting Banksia menziesii (Proteaceae)

Summary

The effectiveness of nectarivorous birds, introduced honey bees and staphylined beetles as pollinators of Banksia menziesii was assessed. Staphylinids removed substantial amounts of pollen but did not deposit any onto stigmata. Abundance of beetles on inflorescences was related to the mean number of florets opening per day. Honey bees collecting pollen were more likely to effect pollination than those collecting nectar which only contacted stigmata when arriving or leaving an inflorescence. Nectar-foraging birds probed between florets 10.2±0.8 (±SE) times, contacting 8–16 stigmata during each probe. Bees visited inflorescences ten times more frequently than birds although they deposited only 25% of the pollen that birds did on stigmata. Fruit set was ten times greater on inflorescences visited by birds than on inflorescences visited by bees. Bees were capable of removing as much pollen as birds but, because of direct pollen transfer to birds when florets opened during foraging, actual removal was probably much less. Selection for floret opening during nectar foraging by birds may have resulted from pollen removal by non-pollinating animals, such as staphylinids.

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Ramsey, M.W. Differences in pollinator effectiveness of birds and insects visiting Banksia menziesii (Proteaceae). Oecologia 76, 119–124 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00379609

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00379609

Key words

  • Pollination
  • Pollinator effectiveness
  • Nectarivorous birds
  • Honey bees
  • Banksia