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Orchid-bird interactions: a case study from Angraecum (Vandeae, Angraecinae) and Zosterops (white-eyes, Zosteropidae) on Reunion Island

Abstract : Although angraecoid orchids are famous for their spectacular flowers, pollinated by hawkmoths in Madagascar, two species of Angraecum endemic to the Mascarenes (sect. Hadrangis ) have atypical unscented and short-spurred flowers that are pollinated by birds. We focused on the pollination and reproductive success of Angraecum bracteosum Balf.f. & S.Moore, a member of sect. Hadrangis . We investigated the breeding system by performing a set of hand-pollination ex- periments and by observing natural pollinators using video-captures. Pollinator efficiency (pollen removal and deposition) and reproductive success (fruit set) were quantified once a week in two natural island populations during three consecutive flowering seasons (2003–2005). The orchid is self-compatible but requires pollinator services to achieve reproduction. The two white-eye song-bird species (Zosteropidae) that occur on Reunion, Zosterops borbonicus Boddaert and Zosterops oliva- Ceus L., were recorded as pollinators. However, while pollination events were rare and occasional following flower visits by Z. borbonicus , foraging of Z. oliveaceus resulted in a high frequency of successful pollinations. White-eyes typically perched on inflorescences, and probed most of the ‘‘fresh-looking’’ flowers for nectar. This study documents a probable case of bird-pollination specialization within Angraecum section Hadrangis , and sheds light on the role played by pollina- tors during the radiation of section Hadrangis in the Mascarene Archipelago.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:03:42 PM
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Claire Micheneau, Jacques Fournel, Laurence Humeau, Thierry Pailler. Orchid-bird interactions: a case study from Angraecum (Vandeae, Angraecinae) and Zosterops (white-eyes, Zosteropidae) on Reunion Island. Botany / Botanique, NRC Research Press, 2008, 86 (10), pp.1143--1151. ⟨10.1139/B08-068⟩. ⟨hal-01199365⟩



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