Feb 17, 2015

From dusk till dawn: nocturnal and diurnal pollination in the epiphyte Tillandsia heterophylla (Bromeliaceae)

Plant Biology
Pedro Adrián Aguilar-RodríguezM Cristina MacSwiney G


In order to compare the effectiveness of diurnal and nocturnal pollinators, we studied the reproductive biology and pollinators of Tillandsia heterophylla E. Morren, an epiphytic tank bromeliad endemic to southeastern Mexico. Since anthesis in T. heterophylla is predominantly nocturnal but lasts until the following day, we hypothesised that this bromeliad would receive visits from both diurnal and nocturnal visitors, but that nocturnal visitors would be the most effective pollinators, since they arrive first to the receptive flower, and that bats would be the most frequent nocturnal visitors, given the characteristics of the nectar. Flowering of T. heterophylla began in May and lasted until July. The species is fully self-compatible, with an anthesis that lasts for ca. 15-16 h. Mean volume of nectar produced per flower was 82.21 μl, with a mean sugar concentration of 6.33%. The highest volume and concentration of nectar were found at 20:00 h, with a subsequent decline in both to almost zero over the following 12-h period. T. heterophylla has a generalist pollination system, since at least four different morphospecies of visitors pollinate its flowers: bats, moths, hummingbirds and bees. Most of the pollinating visits correspond...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Apis mellifera
Plant Carpals
Tylophora heterophylla
Tillandsia heterophylla
SPP2 dioxygenase
Tillandsia (plant)
Tritomaria heterophylla

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