Intraflower variation in nectar secretion: Secretion patterns and pollinator behavior in male- and female-phase flowers

Ando Misaki, Tomoyuki Itagaki, Yutaka Matsubara, Satoki Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Premise of the Study: Plants that secrete abundant nectar attract many pollinator visits, potentially leading to a high frequency of geitonogamous pollination. However, intraflower variation in nectar volume might enhance early departure from the flower or inflorescence, reducing geitonogamy. To examine the adaptive significance of multiple nectar-producing spurs within flowers, we related intraflower variation in nectar characteristics to pollinator foraging behavior and plant reproductive success in protandrous Aquilegia buergeriana var. oxysepala. Methods: We investigated if nectar volume and sugar mass relate to spur length and if intraflower variation in nectar characteristics differ between male- and female-phase flowers. Because male function requires more pollinator visits than female function, male-phase flowers are expected to have greater nectar volume and lower intraflower variation in nectar volume than female-phase flowers. We used intraflower variation in spur length as an indicator of variation in nectar characteristics and investigated how spur length variation affects pollinator behavior, pollen removal, and seed production. Key Results: Male-phase flowers had greater nectar volume and lower intraflower variation in nectar volume than female-phase flowers. Intraflower variation in spur length reduced the duration of bumblebee visits. Short visits reduced seed production, but increased pollen removal. Conclusions: Our results suggest that high intraflower variation in nectar production rate can reduce geitonogamy and potentially increase the genetic diversity of pollen received. Such pattern of nectar secretion within and among flowers may allow flowers to ensure effective pollen transfer or high seed production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-850
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume105
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May

Keywords

  • Ranunculaceae
  • floral nectar
  • hierarchical Bayesian estimation
  • interflower variation
  • multiple spurs
  • nectar sugar
  • plant-animal interaction
  • pollinator foraging behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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