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Keywords:

  • Aristolochia baetica;
  • Aristolochia paucinervis;
  • Aristolochiaceae;
  • floral phenology;
  • Mediterranean;
  • pollinator;
  • Spain

Abstract

The pollination of Aristolochia involves the temporary confinement of visitors inside the flower. A literature review has shown that some species are visited by one or a few dipteran families, while others are visited by a wider variety of dipterans, but only some of these are effective pollinators. We observed flowering phenology and temporal patterns of pollinator attendance in diverse populations of Aristolochia baetica and A. paucinervis, two species that grow in SW Spain, frequently in mixed populations. The two species had overlapping floral phenologies, extended flowering periods and long-lived flowers. A. baetica attracted a higher number of visitors than A. paucinervis. Drosophilids and, to a lesser extent, phorids, were the main pollinators of A. baetica, whereas in A. paucinervis, phorids were the only pollinators. Attendance to A. paucinervis flowers by phorids in mixed populations was markedly lower than in pure populations. This effect was more evident in years with lower pollinator density. Our results suggest that A. baetica and A. paucinervis may compete for pollinators in mixed populations.