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Sunbird surprise : A test of the predictive power of the syndrome concept

Quintero, Elena; Genzoni, Eléonore; Mann, Nigel; Nuttman, Clive V. and Anderson, Bruce (2016) In Flora
Abstract

Floral syndromes are thought to be the product of convergent evolution, where the floral characters of unrelated species have evolved similar forms in response to shared pollinators. A contentious corollary is that floral form should be predictive of pollinators. In the forests of Uganda, we came upon the inflorescences of . Thonningia sanguinea, a parasitic plant which previous literature suggested was part of a brood site pollination mutualism with flies (Calliphoridae and Muscidae). The general phenotype of the inflorescence suggested pollination by vertebrates, and the phenotypic similarity with several species of rodent pollinated . Protea suggested to us that terrestrial mammals may be important pollinators. Pollinator... (More)

Floral syndromes are thought to be the product of convergent evolution, where the floral characters of unrelated species have evolved similar forms in response to shared pollinators. A contentious corollary is that floral form should be predictive of pollinators. In the forests of Uganda, we came upon the inflorescences of . Thonningia sanguinea, a parasitic plant which previous literature suggested was part of a brood site pollination mutualism with flies (Calliphoridae and Muscidae). The general phenotype of the inflorescence suggested pollination by vertebrates, and the phenotypic similarity with several species of rodent pollinated . Protea suggested to us that terrestrial mammals may be important pollinators. Pollinator observations and quantifications of pollen loads demonstrated that . T. sanguinea is not visited by mammals, and that sunbirds are likely the most effective pollinators. The fact that the syndrome concept drove us to question the published literature on fly pollination demonstrates the usefulness of the concept. However, due to several phenotypic traits which did not conform to the classic sunbird pollination syndrome, sunbird visitation came as a surprise. While the syndrome concept is very useful, pollinator predictions based on syndrome traits should always be treated as working hypotheses.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Convergent evolution, Floral syndrome, Kibale forest, Pollinator prediction, Sunbird pollination, Thonningia sanguinea
in
Flora
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85009292185
ISSN
0367-2530
DOI
10.1016/j.flora.2016.11.015
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
3b2e5762-9735-4e7e-b9b6-4afb8283bee9
date added to LUP
2017-04-19 10:03:21
date last changed
2017-07-09 05:00:12
@article{3b2e5762-9735-4e7e-b9b6-4afb8283bee9,
  abstract     = {<p>Floral syndromes are thought to be the product of convergent evolution, where the floral characters of unrelated species have evolved similar forms in response to shared pollinators. A contentious corollary is that floral form should be predictive of pollinators. In the forests of Uganda, we came upon the inflorescences of . Thonningia sanguinea, a parasitic plant which previous literature suggested was part of a brood site pollination mutualism with flies (Calliphoridae and Muscidae). The general phenotype of the inflorescence suggested pollination by vertebrates, and the phenotypic similarity with several species of rodent pollinated . Protea suggested to us that terrestrial mammals may be important pollinators. Pollinator observations and quantifications of pollen loads demonstrated that . T. sanguinea is not visited by mammals, and that sunbirds are likely the most effective pollinators. The fact that the syndrome concept drove us to question the published literature on fly pollination demonstrates the usefulness of the concept. However, due to several phenotypic traits which did not conform to the classic sunbird pollination syndrome, sunbird visitation came as a surprise. While the syndrome concept is very useful, pollinator predictions based on syndrome traits should always be treated as working hypotheses.</p>},
  author       = {Quintero, Elena and Genzoni, Eléonore and Mann, Nigel and Nuttman, Clive V. and Anderson, Bruce},
  issn         = {0367-2530},
  keyword      = {Convergent evolution,Floral syndrome,Kibale forest,Pollinator prediction,Sunbird pollination,Thonningia sanguinea},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Flora},
  title        = {Sunbird surprise : A test of the predictive power of the syndrome concept},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2016.11.015},
  year         = {2016},
}