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Are pollination syndromes useful predictors of floral visitors in Tasmania


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Hingston, AB and Mc, PB 2000 , 'Are pollination syndromes useful predictors of floral visitors in Tasmania' , Austral Ecology, vol. 25, no. 6 , pp. 600-609 , doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2000.tb00065.x.

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Diurnal visitors to the flowers of many native plant species were identified in a wide range of Tasmanian
sclerophyllous vegetation between September 1996 and April 1997. These foraging profiles were analysed to
determine whether they were characteristic of various floral morphologies in predictable ways. It was found that
although visitor profiles were sometimes consistent with classic pollination syndromes, these syndromes were unreliable
predictors of floral visitors. Very few flowers were exclusively bird-pollinated, and none were strictly fly-,
beetle-, wasp-, or butterfly-pollinated. The majority of flowering plants were unspecialized in their morphology,
and consequently hosted a diverse array of visitors. In addition, visitor profiles to congeners with similar floral
morphologies, and even to conspecifics, differed between habitats. Altitude was a major factor in determining visitors,
with flies being the most abundant visitors above 700 m. However, congeners in several genera of Epacridaceae,
as well as the genus Correa, which differed in floral morphology also differed in visitor profiles. Tubular flowers
were associated with birds, while flowers with more accessible nectar were visited by insects. The only taxa exhibiting
a bee-pollination syndrome that were largely visited by bees were the Fabaceae and Goodenia ovata Sm. Several
species with purple or pink flowers were also predominantly visited by bees, but did not strictly conform to the
melittophilous syndrome. In contrast, other flowers exhibiting an ostensibly mellitophilous syndrome hosted very
few bees. Of these, species that occurred at high altitude were mainly visited by flies, while others received
very few potential pollen vectors.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hingston, AB and Mc, PB
Keywords: birds, colour, flowers, foraging profiles, insects, shape, visitor profiles.
Journal or Publication Title: Austral Ecology
ISSN: 1442-9985
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2000.tb00065.x
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