The pollination of Merremia palmeri (Convolvulaceae): can hawk moths be trusted?

Willmott, Alexander P. and Burquez, Alberto (1996) The pollination of Merremia palmeri (Convolvulaceae): can hawk moths be trusted? American Journal of Botany, 83 (8). pp. 1050-1056. ISSN 0002-9122

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Official URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445994

Abstract

The reproductive biology of Merremia palmeri and the pollination efficiency of its insect visitors were examined for a Sonoran Desert population in northwestern Mexico. Pollen transfer experiments proved that the plant is self-incompatible. Reproduction is, therefore, dependent upon reliable visitation by the primary pollinators, hawk moths. Many aspects of the floral structure are typical of sphingophilous flowers, and the time of flower opening and nectar secretion corresponded to the period of greatest hawk moth activity. A single hawk moth visit to a flower could be sufficient for successful fertilization. Additional visits up to five increased percentage fruit set, but flowers that received six or more visits had lower fruit and seed set. Neither the number of moth visits nor fruit and seed set were correlated with temperature or relative humidity. Over the course of the study 55% of flowers set fruit. We conclude that hawk moths are reliable and efficient pollinators for M. palmeri in a warm desert habitat

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The reproductive biology of Merremia palmeri and the pollination efficiency of its insect visitors were examined for a Sonoran Desert population in northwestern Mexico. Pollen transfer experiments proved that the plant is self-incompatible. Reproduction is, therefore, dependent upon reliable visitation by the primary pollinators, hawk moths. Many aspects of the floral structure are typical of sphingophilous flowers, and the time of flower opening and nectar secretion corresponded to the period of greatest hawk moth activity. A single hawk moth visit to a flower could be sufficient for successful fertilization. Additional visits up to five increased percentage fruit set, but flowers that received six or more visits had lower fruit and seed set. Neither the number of moth visits nor fruit and seed set were correlated with temperature or relative humidity. Over the course of the study 55% of flowers set fruit. We conclude that hawk moths are reliable and efficient pollinators for M. palmeri in a warm desert habitat
Keywords:Convolvulaceae, Sonoran Desert, floral biology, nectar, pollination, Sphingidae
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C200 Botany
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:3582
Deposited By: Rosaline Smith
Deposited On:31 Oct 2010 15:33
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:34

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