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Abstract Detail

Foutch, Britnie [1], Otero-Arnaiz, Adriana [2], Ruiz Guajardo, Juan Carlos [3], Schnabel, Andrew [1].

Does presence of staminodes affect insect visitation to Commelina reptans?

Floral morphology is highly variable in angiosperms and is very important in conveying signals to potential pollinators. Besides the attractive colors and shapes of calyx and corolla, some flowers display colorful, and sometimes deceptive, reproductive structures. Flowers of the genus Commelina (dayflowers; Commelinaceae) have three types of stamens: two with viable pollen, one with feeder pollen, and three with no pollen but modified as colorful staminodes. The staminodes presumably entice potential pollinators to visit the flowers. We explored the effect of staminode removal on insect visitation and pollination in Commelina reptans at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya. Data from 2005 and 2006 showed that peak insect visitation to C. reptans (mostly honeybees, Apis mellifera) was between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Experiments in 2005 suggested that removal of staminodes alone had little effect on rates of insect visitation, but additional removal of the feeder stamen significantly reduced visitation. In contrast, experiments from 2006 suggested that on most days, the number of insect visits to flowers with staminodes removed was lower than to unmanipulated flowers. Lack of staminodes did not affect mean duration of insect visitation. Following the period of insect visitation, anthers were scored for proportion of pollen removed and stigmas were observed for pollen deposition. Unmanipulated flowers showed somewhat greater pollen removal and a slightly higher proportion of stigmas with pollen. We are currently expanding these studies to other co-flowering species of Commelina (C. benghalensis, C. erecta, C. africana) from the same savannah habitats.

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1 - Indiana University South Bend, Department of Biological Sciences, 1700 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, IN, 46634, USA
2 - National Institute of Ecology, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico City, Mexico
3 - University of Edinburgh, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Ashworth Laboratories, The King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JT, United Kingdom


Presentation Type: Array
Session: TBA
Location: Lake Ontario/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: 012
Abstract ID:1536

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