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Pollination of Amorphophallus johnsonii (Araceae) by carrion beetles (Phaeochrous amplus) in a Ghanaian rain forest

  • Daniel D. N. Beath (a1)

Amorphophallus johnsonii (N. E. Brown) flowers during April in the main rainy season in Ghana. Anthesis starts at dusk with fluid oozing from the upper spadix accompanied by a strong aminoid odour. Just after dark large numbers of carrion beetles (Phaeochrous amplus) and occasional dung fly species (Hemigymnochaeta unicolor and Paryphodes tigrinus) visit the inflorescences. The beetles become trapped in the lower spathe overnight and remain in the spadix until the following evening. Between 1630 and 1645 h the following day, the anthers produce long threads of sticky pollen. The trapped beetles escape just after dark by crawling up the spadix, past the dehisced anthers and fly away from the spadix tip. Marked beetles were seen to transfer pollen from male phase to female phase inflorescences. Successful fertilisation was only effected if pollen was transferred on the same night from a male inflorescence 30 m or less away. Pollen is psilate and typical of beetle pollinated Araceae. Berries ripen approximately 70 d after fertilization and ripen basisetally in the infructescence.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
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