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The Role of Thermogenesis in the Pollination Biology of the Amazon Waterlily Victoria amazonica
, Matthews P.G.D.
Annals of Botany
, 2006. V. 98. No. 6. P. 1129–1135
Журнал с антэкологическими публикациями.
Oxford University Press · email@example.com
Background and Aims Several families of tropical plants have thermogenic flowers that show a 2-d protogynous sequence. Most are pollinated by large beetles that remain for the entire period in the flowers, where they compete for mates and feed. Active beetles require high body temperatures that they can achieve endogenously at great energy expense or attain passively and cheaply in a warm environment. Floral heating is therefore hypothesized to be a direct energy reward to endothermic beetles, in addition to its accepted role in enhancing scent production. Methods This study measures the pattern of floral heat production (as temperature in 20 flowers and respiration rates in five flowers) in Victoria amazonica at field sites in Guyana and correlates floral temperatures with body temperatures necessary for activity in visiting Cyclocephala hardyi beetles. Key Results Thermogenesis occurred in a bimodal pattern, with peaks associated with the arrival and departure of beetles near sunset. Peak CO2 production rates averaged 2·9 µmol s−1, equivalent to a heat production of 1·4 W. Heat was generated mainly in the floral chamber on the first evening and by the stamen complex on the second. Mean chamber temperature remained between 29·3 and 34·7 °C during the first night, when ambient temperature was 23·5–25·2 °C. Beetles actively competed for mates and consumed stylar processes in the floral chamber, where their mean thoracic temperature was 33·2 °C. At the lower ambient temperatures outside of the flower, beetles capable of sustained flight had a similar mean temperature of 32·0 °C. Conclusions Floral heating is not only associated with attraction, but continues throughout the night when beetles are active inside the flower and increases again when they leave. Floral chamber temperatures similar to activity temperatures of actively endothermic beetles imply that thermogenesis is an energy reward.