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Floral biology and reproductive isolation by floral scent in three sympatric aroid species in French Guiana


  • Editor
    M. van Kleunen

H. Hentrich, Institut für Systematische Botanik und Ökologie, Universität Ulm, 89069 Ulm, Germany.


We studied the reproductive biology of three sympatric Araceae species, Anthurium sagittatum, A. thrinax and Spathiphyllum humboldtii in French Guiana. The plants flowered simultaneously and were visited by scent-collecting male euglossine bees, which were apparently their major pollinators. In total, each species was visited by 3–7 euglossine species, and 2–3 euglossine species accounted for at least 80% of all flower visits, with visits being plant species-specific. Floral scent consisted of 6–10 main compounds, which made up 76–94% of the total amount of volatiles and were specific in these high amounts to each plant species. We suggest that the different floral scents lead to clear separation of the main pollinating euglossine species, providing a directed and efficient intraspecific pollen flow that results in high reproductive success. Since the simple floral (inflorescence) morphology of the studied plants does not support any morphological mechanisms to exclude visitors, as for example in euglossine-pollinated perfume orchids, floral scent might be of major importance for the reproductive isolation and sympatric occurrence of these plants.