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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: High incidence of pollen theft in natural populations of a buzz-pollinated plant
Author(s): Solis-Montero, Lislie
Vergara, Carlos H
Vallejo-Marín, Mario
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Keywords: Buzz pollination
Pollen larceny
Pollen limitation
Pollen theft
Pollination efficiency
Solanum rostratum
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Date Deposited: 4-Nov-2015
Citation: Solis-Montero L, Vergara CH & Vallejo-Marín M (2015) High incidence of pollen theft in natural populations of a buzz-pollinated plant. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 9 (6), pp. 599-611.
Abstract: More than 20,000 angiosperm species possess non-dehiscent anthers that open through small pores at the anther’s tip. These flowers are visited by bees that use vibrations to remove pollen, a phenomenon known as buzz pollination. However, some floral visitors fail to transfer pollen efficiently, either through a mismatch of flower and insect size, or because they are unable to buzz-pollinate. These visitors collect pollen, but provide little or no pollination, behaving as pollen thieves. Although pollen theft is widespread in plants, few studies have quantified the incidence of pollen thieves for buzz-pollinated plants. We use observations of natural populations and floral manipulations ofSolanumrostratum(Solanaceae) to investigate the incidence of pollen theft, find morphological and behavioural differences between pollinators and thieves, measure the pollination efficiency of visitors, and characterize the reproductive ecology of this herb. We found that most visitors act as thieves, with <20% of all bees contacting the stigma. Insect visitors that regularly failed to contact the stigma (illegitimate visitors), included buzzing and non-buzzing bees, were significantly smaller, visited fewer flowers per bout, and stayed longer in each flower than (legitimate) visitors that regularly contact the stigma. Few flowers visited solely by illegitimate visitors set fruit. Our results show thatS.rostratumrequires insect visitation to set seed and natural populations experience moderate pollen limitation. We conclude that insect size, relative to the flower, is the main determinant of whether a visitor acts as a pollinator or a pollen thief inS.rostratum.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s11829-015-9397-5
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository; Published in Arthropod-Plant Interactions, Volume 9, Issue 6 , pp 599-611 The final publication is available at Springer via

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