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Keywords:

  • frequency-dependent selection;
  • gynodioecy;
  • Kallstroemia;
  • male sterility;
  • Melissodes;
  • pollen limitation;
  • Sonoran Desert

Abstract

An enduring puzzle in gynodioecious species is the great variation in female frequency seen among populations. We quantified sex ratio in 44 populations of gynodioecious Kallstroemia grandiflora. Then, we measured pollinator visitation, pollen deposition, autonomous selfing rate and pollen limitation of females. Finally, using experimental populations, we tested whether female fitness responds to the frequency of female plants. We found broad variability in sex ratio among populations (0–44% female). Hermaphrodite flowers received more pollinator visits and pollen grains than females, and bagged hermaphrodite flowers produced fruits. However, we found no evidence of pollen limitation in females. In experimental populations, female plants showed no evidence of frequency-dependent pollinator visitation, fruit set, seed set or total seed mass. These results do not support frequency-dependent variation in fitness as a major mechanism affecting female frequencies in K. grandiflora. Within the context of this study, pollinators are abundant and pollinator movement appears to operate at a large enough scale to overcome the potential reproductive disadvantages of producing solely female flowers.