The peacock moraeas are South African geophytes withIris-like flowers that are characterized by broad outer tepals with iridescent spots. Three of the seven species were studied and found to be exclusively visited and pollinated by beetles. The primary pollinators were hopliine (Scarabaeidae) beetles in the generaPeritrichia, Monochelus, Anisonyx andAnisochelus. These beetles visit flowers for nectar, pollen and mating.Peritrichia rufotibialis was the primary pollinator ofMoraea villosa, P. abdominalis was the primary pollinator ofM. tulbaghensis, whileMonochelus sp. nov. was the primary pollinator of the third species,M. neopavonia. High levels of fruit set attest to the effectiveness of these beetles as pollinators. Average fruit set ranged from 83.5 ± 34.8% (M. villosa) to 97.2 ± 11.6% (M. tulbaghensis). Average seed set in the various populations was more variable, but was also quite high, ranging from 77.3 ± 40.8 (M. villosa) to 342.2 ± 115.0 (M. neopavonia) seeds per capsule. Although hopliine beetles are abundant and diverse in southern Africa and commonly visit flowers, this is the first well-documented report of pollination by these beetles.
Plant Systematics and Evolution – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 30, 2004
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