Plant Ecology and Evolution 152(1): 68-77, doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2019.1537
Floral resource availability of Dicliptera squarrosa (Acanthaceae) and its dependence on hummingbirds for fruit formation in a forest fragment of Central Brazil
expand article infoRaphael Matias, Marco Túlio Furtado, Silvia B. Rodrigues§, Hélder Consolaro|
‡ Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF 70904-970, Brazil§ Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF 70910-900, Brazil| Instituto de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Regional Catalão, Catalão, GO 75704-020, Brazil
Open Access

Background and aims – Hummingbirds are dependent and specialized on nectar-feeding, and many plants depend upon them for pollination. However, the degree of plant-pollinator interdependence varies greatly among species; thus, information on plant mating systems and availability of resources may help to clarify the dependence of interacting organisms. The goals of this study were to (1) quantify the floral resource available during the flowering of Dicliptera squarrosa Nees for comparison with other co-flowering ornithophilous species, and to (2) determine the importance of floral visitors for the reproductive success of this plant.

Methods – Data collection was performed in a forest fragment within the urban perimeter of Catalão, Goiás, from September 2012 to August 2013. We investigated the flowering phenology, floral biology, nectar characteristics, flower visitors and mating systems of D. squarrosa. Additionally, we evaluated the amount of floral resource offered (number of flowers and energy in joules) by co-flowering ornithophilous species within an area of 6000 m2 for comparison with D. squarrosa.

Key resultsDicliptera squarrosa presents flowers adapted to pollination by hummingbirds, which act as the sole pollinator group for flowers of this species. Flowering occurs from June to September and is synchronous with five other co-flowering species. During the months between July and September, D. squarrosa is the main food source for hummingbirds in the area, offering more floral resources than all of the other five ornithophilous species together. Plants of this species are self-compatible, but they depend on hummingbirds to transfer pollen; levels of autonomous autogamy were low.

Conclusions – We suggest that D. squarrosa is an important species for maintaining hummingbirds in the forest fragment due to its high production of nectar resources. In addition, data on floral biology, flower visitors, and mating systems showed the importance of hummingbirds for reproduction of D. squarrosa, suggesting a mutualistic interaction between plant and hummingbirds.

Cerrado, flowering phenology, nectar, ornithophily, pollination, hummingbirds, fruit, self-compatibility


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