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  Pollinators/ Schismatoglottis species
From: ju-bo at msn.com (ju-bo at msn.com) on 2008.06.21 at 11:00:58(17888)
> From: botanist at malesiana.com
> To: aroid-l at gizmoworks.com
> Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 05:39:11 +0800
> Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species

Dear Pete, Leland and Aroid Friends,

Just a word of caution here on deciding what the true pollinators are, even if they are observed visiting or actually inside an aroid bloom---I remember well a talk given by Dr. Susan Thompson at the MOBOT aroid symposium which I attended, where she explained and illustrated with many wonderful photos that many insects observed at or even in an aroid infloresence may not be the actual pollinators. Long observations and experiments are done to determine exactly which insect or more than one insect have evolved as the pollenators, and can and do actually collect, hold the pollen on their bodies, and transfer it to another bloom. Many insects may visit a bloom to feed or collect valuable resources, but are NOT the pollinators. A case in point which I can think of to illustrate this are the small stingless bees which visit Philodendron blooms. They collect the resin which becomes wax-like with age, and use it in their nest construction. It is Cyclocephaline scrab beetles that do the actual pollination,
and are large enough to tollerate their bodies being covered with the resin produced by the bloom, which the pollen then adhers to, and they are strong enough to fly to another receptive bloom where the pollen is transfered to the receptive female flowers. The small bees can not/do not do this.
Dr. Thompson showed photos of some aroid blooms in which some beetles just eat their way through the spathe wall and into the spathe`s lower chamber, there to feed indiscriminately on not only the sterile flowers, but on the female flowers as well, to them it is just a food source, and by learning to by-pass the ''system'' of pollination, they do no ''good'' to the plant, in fact they destroy that particular bloom.
Another case which comes to mind was when our Wilbert Hetterschied and the late Dr. Jim Symon observed Amorphophallus titanum blooming in nature, many bees, beetles, and other insects were observed visiting an open and receptive bloom, but I`m not certain if the correct pollinator was determined from amongst the many ''visitors''.
I would expect that the determination of which birds, insects or even small animals are the ''correct/sucessful''distributors of fruit/seeds to be an equally challenging task!

I hope these random thoughts help.

Good Growing,


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