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Keywords:

  • beetle pollination;
  • canopy;
  • coleoptera;
  • leaf beetle;
  • mast flowering;
  • population dynamics;
  • Shorea;
  • southeast Asian tropical rain forest

ABSTRACT

In SE Asian rain forests, general flowering, a community-wide synchronous flowering, occurs at irregular and supra-annual intervals. During general flowering periods (GFP), most Dipterocarpaceae and many other trees flower profusely, while flowering plants are scant between GFP. During flowerless periods, anthophilous animals that depend on floral resources for food may suffer food shortages and subsequently decrease in abundance. Flower-visiting chrysomelid adults are major pollinators for some canopy tree species that flower during GFP. Although such chrysomelids feed on flower petals, the means by which they survive flowerless periods remains unknown. We determined the abundance of flower-visiting chrysomelids in GFP and non-GFP through light trap samples and examined the effects of the presence of young leaves and flowers of dipterocarps on local abundance, and feeding preferences of flower-visiting chrysomelids. We found no clear tendency that the chrysomelid species number and the abundance during GFP were consistently higher than those during non-GFP. Chrysomelid adults were more abundant on trees with many young leaves or flowers than on trees lacking young leaves and flowers. At least a few flower-visiting chrysomelids were observed feeding on young dipterocarp leaves and visiting young leaves and flowers of non-dipterocarps in the canopy during non-GFP. All results consistently suggest that chrysomelids are able to survive flowerless periods by feeding on the young leaves of dipterocarps and on the young leaves and flowers of non-dipterocarps; through this alternate feeding, chrysomelid populations are maintained at sufficient levels to function as effective pollinators of trees that flower during GFP.