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Keywords:

  • floral constancy;
  • geographical variation;
  • Mimulus guttatus;
  • pollinator attraction;
  • UV reflectance

Abstract

Floral colors are widely believed to be an adaptation to attract pollinators. Recently, our understanding of floral reflectance has broadened to include colors that are beyond the spectrum that human eyes can perceive (such as ultraviolet (UV) reflectance), yet we still know relatively little about which plant species reflect UV light or its effectiveness in attracting pollinators. We investigated the effect of UV reflectance in Mimulus guttatus in a number of different populations in British Columbia, Canada. We found that M. guttatus had distinct regions of the corolla where UV light was reflected and absorbed. When we manipulated the degree of contrast between the reflection and absorption area, we found that pollinator visitation was severely disrupted, in terms of frequency and foraging patterns observed. Despite the bright yellow (bee-green) coloration and visible nectar guides in M. guttatus, we conclude that UV reflectance is critical in pollinator attraction.