Pollinator responses to variation in floral display and flower size in dioecious Sagittaria latifolia (Alismataceae)

Authors

  • Mélanie Glaettli,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 25 Willcocks Street, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, M5S 3B2;
    2. Present address: Department of Biology, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, University of Bern, 3013 Bern, Switzerland
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  • Spencer C. H. Barrett

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 25 Willcocks Street, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, M5S 3B2;
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Author for correspondence:
Mélanie Glaettli
Tel: +4131 631 4927
Fax: +4131 631 4942
Email: melanie.glaettli@ips.unibe.ch

Summary

  • • In animal-pollinated plants with unisexual flowers, sexual dimorphism in floral traits may be the consequence of pollinator-mediated selection. Experimental investigations of the effects of variation in flower size and floral display on pollinator visitation can provide insights into the evolution of floral dimorphism in dioecious plants.
  • • Here, we investigated pollinator responses to experimental arrays of dioecious Sagittaria latifolia in which we manipulated floral display and flower size. We also examined whether there were changes in pollinator visitation with increasing dimorphism in flower size.
  • • In S. latifolia, males have larger flowers and smaller floral displays than females. Visitation by pollinators, mainly flies and bees, was more frequent for male than for female inflorescences and increased with increasing flower size, regardless of sex. The number of insect visits per flower decreased with increasing floral display in males but remained constant in females. Greater sexual dimorphism in flower size increased visits to male inflorescences but had no influence on the number of visits to female inflorescences.
  • • These results suggest that larger flower sizes would be advantageous to both females and males, and no evidence was found that females suffer from increased flower-size dimorphism. Small daily floral displays may benefit males by allowing extended flowering periods and greater opportunities for effective pollen dispersal.

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