Bolin, Jay F. , Musselman, Lytton John , Maass, Erika .
The generalist pollination syndrome of the root holoparasite Hydnora africana and a test of a selective insect trapping mechanism.
Hydnora africana (Hydnoraceae) is a root holoparasite of southern Africa that parasitizes a variety of shrubby Euphorbia spp. The trimerous flowers of H. africana are comprised of an androecial and gynoecial chamber. Flowers are putatively protogynous (carpellate for 3 days) and produce a fetid odor from osmophores recessed on their interior tepal surfaces. Within the flowers of H. africana we observed 18 insect species and several other non-insect floral visitors at two sites in southern Namibia. The hide beetle Dermestes maculatus accounted for 65% of the floral visitors observed. Glabrous and waxy inner surface of the androecial chamber was selective; it prevented the escape of small beetles but was not a barrier to ants, grasshoppers, roaches, or large beetles. A beetle addition experiment (n = 8) using D. maculatus was used to evaluate the trapping mechanism of H. africana. Beetles began to escape the day pollen was shed due to changes in the androecial wall. Beetle escape was 31.1 (± 19.2), 42.2 (± 17.1), and 55.5 (± 16.7) % for 1-3 days after pollen shed, respectively. Pollen was still viable 72 hours after shedding. This suggests that the trapped beetles can be effective pollinators after escape.
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1 - Old Dominion University, Department of Biological Sciences, Mills Godwin Building, 45th Street, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529-0266, USA
2 - University of Namibia, Department of Biology, Private Bag 13301, Windhoek, , Namibia
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 3:45 PM