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Pollination ecology of the dioecious tree Commiphora guillauminii in Madagascar

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2004

Nina Farwig
Affiliation:
Institute of Zoology, Dept. V Ecology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Becherweg 13, D-55099 Mainz, Germany
Emile F. Randrianirina
Affiliation:
Département de Biologie Animale, Université d'Antananarivo, BP 906 Antananarivo (101), Madagascar
Friederike A. Voigt
Affiliation:
Institute of Zoology, Dept. V Ecology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Becherweg 13, D-55099 Mainz, Germany
Manfred Kraemer
Affiliation:
Alexander Koenig Research Institute and Museum of Zoology, Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany
Katrin Böhning-Gaese
Affiliation:
Institute of Zoology, Dept. V Ecology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Becherweg 13, D-55099 Mainz, Germany

Abstract

In dioecious plant species differences in morphology and resources between female and male flowers can have consequences for flower visitation rates. Female flowers sometimes lack pollen and can be less attractive to pollinators than male flowers. We studied the pollination ecology of the dioecious tree Commiphora guillauminii in a dry deciduous forest in western Madagascar. We recorded floral display, visiting insect species and visitation rates for female and male trees. The results showed that female trees produce significantly larger but fewer flowers per inflorescence than male ones. Number of flowers per tree did not differ between the sexes. During 270 observation-hours we observed 17 insect and two bird species visiting the flowers. Mean visitation rates of male flowers were 6.1 times higher than those of female flowers (1.07 vs. 0.18 visitors per flower h−1). Visitation rates to female and male trees showed similar daily and seasonal patterns. Fruit set (2.9%) was low, which could have been caused by pollinator or pollen limitation. This study suggests that dioecy may pose a risk for fruit set and, potentially, reproductive success for plant species with depauperate pollinator faunas on islands such as Madagascar.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 Cambridge University Press

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