Evol Ecol Res 13: 307-314 (2011)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

On the evolution of protandry and the distinction between preference and rank order in pollinator visitation

Tom J. de Jong1, Peter G.L. Klinkhamer1, Avi Shmida2 and Frank Thuijsman3

1Institute of Biology Leiden, University of Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands, 2Department of Ecology and Evolution and Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel and 3Department of Knowledge Engineering, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Correspondence: T.J. de Jong, Institute of Biology Leiden, University of Leiden, PO Box 9505, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands.
e-mail: t.j.de.jong@biology.leidenuniv.nl


Question: How can protandry of hermaphrodite flowers be an adaptive strategy? Does this differ for plant species with vertical (Digitalis purpurea) and non-vertical (Echium vulgare) inflorescences?

Mathematical methods: We develop a measure for quantifying rank order of visitation to flowers in the male and female stage.

Key assumptions: Protandry is adaptive when it leads to female flowers being visited before male flowers.

Conclusions: In D. purpurea, female flowers were visited first; for a bumblebee visiting 10 flowers on the plant, the average rank of the female flowers visited was 2 rank numbers below that of the male flowers, while the maximum rank difference (all female flowers visited before male flowers) was 5. In E. vulgare, there was no consistent difference in rank of visitation, despite a strong preference of bumblebees for visiting high-rewarding male-phase flowers. While results for Digitalis are in line with expectation, those for Echium are not.

Keywords: bumblebee, dichogamy, Darwin’s pollination syndrome, Digitalis purpurea, Echium vulgare.

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        © 2011 Tom J. de Jong. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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