Pollination efficiency on Ipomoea bahiensis (Convolvulaceae): morphological and behavioural aspects of floral visitors

Miriam Gimenes, Laene Silva Araujo, Anderson Matos Medina

Resumo


Pollination depends on morphological and behavioural adjustments between visitors and plants. Some plant species as Ipomoea bahiensis Wild. Ex. Roem. & Schult provide nectar and pollen to visitors and occur in anthropic areas, therefore becoming an important source of resources for the maintenance of native pollinating insects. However, what would be the efficiency of each floral visitor species for the pollination of this plant species? What morphological and behavioural characteristics determine the pollinators? In this regard, this study evaluated: the I. bahiensis flower and visitor sizes in a semi-arid area and the foraging behaviour of these floral visitors. Also, the efficiency rate of potential pollinators was quantified. Bees and butterflies visited the flowers of I. bahiensis, but the bees Melitoma spp., Apis mellifera Linnaeus, 1758, and Pseudaugochlora pandora (Smith, 1853) were the most frequent visitors. These species presented medium and compatible size with the floral tube width. In addition to the size, these bees presented behaviour that favoured the contact with the reproductive structures of the flowers, as evidenced by the efficiency test of the flower visits.  Although butterflies often collect nectar on the flowers, they do not present characteristics that could result in pollination. Hence, medium-sized bees played the role of efficient pollinator of I. bahiensis.



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