Pollen flow in Psiguria warscewiczii: a comparison of Heliconius butterflies and hummingbirds

D A Murawski, Lawrence E Gilbert


Pollen dispersal by male and female Heliconius butterflies and hermit hummingbirds was examined in a natural population of the tropical vine Psiguria warscewiczii. Fluorescent dyes were used to track flowers visited by individual pollinators. Mean distance of pollen dispersal was significantly higher by males than by female Heliconius. Butterflies dispersed pollen greater distances than did hummingbirds. There were no significant differences in dispersal distance among species of Heliconius. The number of flowers or plants to which dye was dispersed was greater for Heliconius than for hummingbirds.The home range behavior and site specificity exhibited by Heliconius, together with the preference by most Heliconius species in the study site for Psiguria led us to examine the relationship between the butterflies' home range and its daily foraging among Psiguria. A Heliconius mark-recapture program was conducted simultaneously with the dye program. This study showed that individual butterflies, for which extensive recaptures were made, visited an area of Psiguria plants on any one day that corresponded to the area in which those butterflies were caught or observed. The area over which a butterfly moved was termed its home range; wi...Continue Reading


Jun 1, 1972·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·L E Gilbert
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