Skip to main content

A weevil pollinating the Canary Islands date palm: between parasitism and mutualism

Abstract

Palm pollination systems are highly diverse, including by wind and by several different groups of insects. Many palm species are associated with more or less specific pollinating weevils that are also floral herbivores. For many such palms, the importance of these "palm flower weevils" as pollinators has not been examined. Here we describe a new ex situ method of demonstrating insect pollination when pollinator exclusion is not possible. We show that Neoderelomus piriformis beetles carry pollen and deposit it on the stigma of Phoenix canariensis. Up until now, pollination systems in Phoenix have been unclear, despite the economic importance of the date palm P. dactylifera. We demonstrate here that small weevils that visit inflorescences and often inconspicuously hide there could be efficient pollinators.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1a–b.
Fig. 2.

References

  • Anstett MC (1999) An experimental study of the interaction between the dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis) and its floral visitor Derelomus chamaeropsis throughout the life cycle of the weevil. Acta Oecol 20(5):551–558

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barfod A, Henderson A, Balslev H (1987) A note on the pollination of Phytelephas microcarpa (Palmae). Biotropica 19:191–192

    Google Scholar 

  • Barrow S (1998) A revision of Phoenix. The Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

  • Búrquez A, Sarukhán KJ, Pedroza AL (1978) Floral biology of a primary rain forest palm, Astrocaryum mexicanum Liebm. Bot J Linn Soc 94:407–419

    Google Scholar 

  • Corner EJH (1966) The natural history of palms. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London

  • Henderson A (1986) A review of pollination studies in the Palmae. Bot Rev 52(3):221–259

    Google Scholar 

  • Henderson A, Pardini R, Fernando J, Vanin S, Almeida D (2000) Pollination of Bactris (Palmae) in an Amazon Forest. Brittonia 52 (2):160–171

    Google Scholar 

  • Kearns CA, Inouye DW (1993) Techniques for pollination biologists. University Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colo., USA

  • Listabarth C (1996) Pollination of Bactris by Phyllotrox and Epurea: implications of the palm breeding beetles on pollination at the community level. Biotropica 28(1):69–81

    Google Scholar 

  • Mogea JP (1978) Pollination in Salacca edulis. Principes 22(2):56–63

    Google Scholar 

  • Moore HE, Uhl NW (1973) The monocotyledons: their evolution and comparative biology. VI. Palms and the origin and evolution of monocotyledons. Q Rev Biol 48:414–436

    Google Scholar 

  • Moore HE, Uhl NW (1982) Major trends of evolution in palms. Bot Rev 48(1):1–69

    Google Scholar 

  • Morici C (1998) Phoenix canariensis in the wild. Principes 42(2):85–89/92–93

    Google Scholar 

  • Piry S, Gompel N (2002) Présence en France de Neoderelomus piriformis (Hoffmann, 1938) sur le palmier Phoenix canariensis Hort. (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Derelomini). Bull Soc Entomol Fr 107(5):509–514

    Google Scholar 

  • SAS (1999) SAS version 8.2. SAS Institute, Cary, N.C., USA

  • Silberbauer-Gottsberger I (1990) Pollination and evolution in palms. Phyton (Horn Austria) 30:213–233

  • Syed RA (1979) Studies on oil palm pollination by insects. Bull Entomol Res 69:213–224

    Google Scholar 

  • Uhl NW, Dransfield J (1987) Genera Palmarum: a classification of palms based on the work of H.E. Moore, Jr. The L.H. Bailey Hortorium and the International Palm Society, Allen Press, Lawrence, Kan., USA

    Google Scholar 

  • Uhl NW, Moore HE (1971) The palm gynoecium. Am J Bot 58(10):945–992

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank S. Piry for drawing our attention to beetles on P. canariensis and D. McKey and three anonymous reviewers for both scientific and linguistic comments on the manuscript. A.M. is grateful to the Plant Genetics Conservation Project in Bangkok for support and to the French government for funding. These experiments comply with the current laws of France.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marie-Charlotte Anstett.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Meekijjaroenroj, A., Anstett, MC. A weevil pollinating the Canary Islands date palm: between parasitism and mutualism. Naturwissenschaften 90, 452–455 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-003-0454-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-003-0454-z

Keywords

  • Female Flower
  • Date Palm
  • Pollination Experiment
  • Floral Visitor
  • Wind Pollination