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Pollination ecology of the dioecious tree Commiphora guillauminii in Madagascar

  • Nina Farwig (a1), Emile F. Randrianirina (a2), Friederike A. Voigt (a1), Manfred Kraemer (a3) and Katrin Böhning-Gaese (a1)...

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.

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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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