Implications of the Floral Herbivory on Malpighiacea Plant Fitness: Visual Aspect of the Flower affects the attractiveness to Pollinators

Clébia Aparecida Ferreira, Helena Maura Torezan-Silingardi

Abstract


The Malpighiaceae family is species-rich and is abundant in Brazil. Malpighiaceae flowers provide oil and pollen to pollinating bees and serve as food for herbivorous insects, which damage the floral structures. Although common in the Cerrado, florivory is still poorly studied. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of florivory in one of the most common genera of Malpighiaceae in the Cerrado (Banisteriopsis) and the impact of florivory on fruiting. The florivory rate was quantified in flowers of B. malifolia belonging to two morphotypes and in flowers of B. variabilis. Additionally, a petal-removal experiment was performed, which simulated the presence of damage in the flowers. The manipulation involved a control group with intact flowers, a group without the standard petal and a group of flowers without common petals. The florivory in the petals (floral area lost) differed between the species, and B. malifolia was the most damaged. The experimental manipulation revealed that intact flowers had a higher fruiting rate compared with the remaining flowers. These results reinforce the concept that florivory renders flowers less attractive to pollinating bees, which negatively affects the fruiting rate and the reproductive success of plants. We suggest that basic studies (such as the present investigation) be extended to further elucidate the effect of interactions between pollinators, plants, and herbivores on the general structure of communities.


Keywords


E xperimental manipulation; Florivory; Fruiting

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v60i3.323-328

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