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Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 599–610 | Cite as

Delayed selfing ensures reproductive assurance in Utricularia praeterita and Utricularia babui in Western Ghats

Regular Paper

Abstract

Numerous bladderwort (Utricularia) species are distributed worldwide, but their reproductive biology is rarely investigated. Bladderworts are known to depend on tiny organisms to meet a significant proportion of their energy requirement by trapping them in bladders. However, information on the extent of their reliance on insects for pollination success is limited. We examined the reproductive strategy of two Utricularia species viz. Utricularia praeterita and U. babui, endemic to Western Ghats, India. The main aspects of the investigation involved floral biology, breeding system, pollination mechanism, and reproductive success. Flowers of both the species are structured for outbreeding through entomophilous floral suites, herkogamy, protandrous dichogamy and sensitive lobes of the stigma. With nearly 65% natural fruit-set, both the species appeared to be sufficiently open-pollinated. However, pollinators failed to show in plants of U. praeterita while in U. babui there was an apparent mismatch between the extent of fruit-set and pollinator visits. The study demonstrated that in the absence/insufficient visits of pollinators, the two species resort to autonomous selfing. In U. babui, denser patches of plants appeared to be crucial for attracting the pollinators. Both species are self-compatible, and reproductive success is predominantly achieved by delayed autonomous selfing. The sensitive stigma in the species fails to prevent selfing due to diminished herkogamy during the late anthetic stages. It is inferred that in the pollinator-limited environment, delayed selfing contributes to absolute natural fecundity in U. praeterita, while it produces a mixed progeny in U. babui.

Keywords

Bladderworts Herkogamy Melittophily Pollinator limitation Protandry Thigmosensitive stigma 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial assistance received from the Research and Development Grant (Grant no: RC/2015/9677) to RT is gratefully acknowledged. SRY thanks the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the BSR faculty fellowship awarded to him.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyShivaji UniversityKolhapurIndia

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