Although mutualism between ants and flowering plants is wide spread, ant pollination has not evolved as a major pollination syndrome. So far ant pollination has been reported largely in herbaceous species, growing in warm and dry habitats. While studying pollination ecology of Syzygium species (Myrtaceae), growing in tropical forests of the Western Ghats, India, we observed one of the ant species, Technomyrmex albipes, to be the dominant floral visitor in S. occidentale (Bourd.) Chithra among a range of other insect (species of Xylocopa and Trigona, and Apis cerana) and bird visitors. We studied the role of ant species in pollination when compared to other floral visitors. The fruit set in flowers exclusively visited by T. albipes was significantly higher than those visited by any other visitor. The day and night exclusive pollination experiments allowing only T. albipes indicated diel pollination by T. albipes, which was the only active flower visitor during the night. The breeding system of the species was studied through controlled pollinations. The species is partially self-compatible and exhibits considerable autogamy.
Arthropod-Plant Interactions – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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