Faculté des sciences

Should food-deceptive species flower before or after rewarding species? An experimental test of pollinator visitation behaviour under contrasting phenologies

Internicola, Antonina I. ; Bernasconi, Giorgina ; Gigord, Luc D. B.

In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2008, vol. 21, no. 5, p. 1358-1365

Many plant species reward their pollinators, whereas some species, particularly among orchids, do not. Similarity of floral cues between co-flowering species influences how rapidly pollinators learn to avoid deceptive plants. This learning process, which affects the reproductive success of deceptive plants, may additionally depend on relative timing of flowering of sympatric rewarding and... Plus

Ajouter à la liste personnelle
    Summary
    Many plant species reward their pollinators, whereas some species, particularly among orchids, do not. Similarity of floral cues between co-flowering species influences how rapidly pollinators learn to avoid deceptive plants. This learning process, which affects the reproductive success of deceptive plants, may additionally depend on relative timing of flowering of sympatric rewarding and deceptive species. We tested the combined effects of corolla colour similarity and flowering order of rewarding and deceptive artificial inflorescences on visitation by naïve bumblebees. When deceptive inflorescences were offered after rewarding inflorescences, bumblebees visited them four times more often if both species were similar compared with when they were dissimilar. Pollinator visitation rate to deceptive inflorescences offered before rewarding inflorescences was intermediate and independent of similarity. Thus, early-flowering deceptive species avoid the costs of dissimilarity with rewarding species. This mechanism may favour adaptive evolution of flowering phenology in deceptive species and explain why temperate deceptive orchids usually flower earlier than rewarding ones.