Pollination of Grewia asiatica (Malvaceae) by Megachile cephalotes (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): Male vs. Female Pollination

Asif Sajjad, Waseem Akram, Sajjad Ali, Muhammad Aslam Farooqi, Ghulam Mujtaba, Mudssar Ali, Ammad Ahmad


Phalsa, Grewia asiatica is a multi-purpose crop while cross-pollination can significantly improve its reproductive success. Megachile bees (Megachilidae) are the most important group of pollinators of G. asiatica. In this study we observed the foraging behavior of Megachile cephalotes and its ultimate impact on reproductive success of phalsa at Bahawalpur (Punjab), Pakistan. Although visitation rate and stay time were statistically similar in both the sexes but visitation frequency (2.06±0.14 individuals/120 seconds) and pollen deposition (39.35±3.17 pollen grains /stigma/visit) of females were significantly higher than that of males (0.44±0.06 individuals/120 seconds and 12.05±1.19 pollen grains/stigma/visit, respectively). The environmental factors (i.e. ambient temperature, relative humidity, sunlight intensity and wind speed) greatly influenced -either positively or negatively- both the sexes (Pearson’s correlation). Female pollinated fruits were significantly greater in weight (0.41±0.017 g) followed by open (0.31±0.012 g) and male (0.27±0.011 g) pollinated fruits. Percent weight loss remained significantly lower in female pollinated fruits than open and male pollinated fruits until12 hours after harvest. Fruit wrinkling significantly increased with the increase in post-harvest intervals in open, female and male pollinated fruits while fruit color changed only in female pollinated fruits. The results of present study suggest female M. cephalotes as the efficient pollinators of G. asiatica in terms of it reproductive success and post-harvest parameters. Future studies should focus biology and ecology of M. cephalotes with special focus on its artificial nesting.


Phalsa, bees, pollination, post-harvest qualities, foraging behavior.

Full Text:



Abrol, D.P. (2015). Pollination biology, Vol. 1: Pests and pollinators of fruit crops. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 40 p

Abrol, D.P. & Kapil, R.P. (1986). Factors affecting pollination activity of Megachile lanata lepel. Proceedings of Indian Academy of Sciences 95(6): 757-769.

Abrol, D.P. (1987). Analysis of environmental factors affecting foraging behaviour of Megachile bicolor F. on Crotalaria juncea L. Bangladesh Journal of Agricultural Research, 12(1): 21-26.

Abrol, D.P. (1992). Energetics of nectar production in some strawberry cultivars as a predictor of floral choice by honeybees. Journal of Biosciences, 17(1): 41-44.

Abrol, D.P. (2006). Diversity of pollinating insects visiting litchi flowers (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) and path analysis of environmental factors influencing foraging behaviour of four honeybee species. Journal of Apicultural Research, 45(4): 180-187. doi: 10.1080/00218839.2006.11101345

Abrol, D.P., Gorka, A. K., Ansari, M.J., Al-Ghamdi, A. & Al-Kahtani, S. (2017b). Impact of insect pollinators on yield and fruit quality of strawberry. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 24(5): 1-7. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v65i4.3370

Abrol, D.P., Shankar, U. & Chatterjee, D. (2017a). Foraging rhythm of bees in relation to flowering of sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum L. Current Science, 113(12): 2359-2362. Doi: 10.18520/cs/v113/i12/2359-2362

Aizen, M.A. & Harder, L.D. (2007). Expanding the limits of the pollen‐limitation concept: effects of pollen quantity and quality. Ecology, 88(2): 271-281. doi: 10.1890/06-1017

Ali, M., Saeed, S., Sajjad, A. & Bashir, M.A. (2014). Exploring the best native pollinators for pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) production in punjab, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 46(2): 531-539.

Batra, S.W.T. (1967). Crop pollination and the flower relationships of the wild bees of Ludhiana, India (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of Kansas Entomological Society, 40(2): 164-177.

Bellusci, F., Musacchio, A., Stabile, R. & Pellegrino, G. (2010). Differences in pollen viability in relation to different deceptive pollination strategies in Mediterranean orchids. Annals of Botany, 106(5): 769-774. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcq164

Blüthgen, N. & Klein, A.M. (2011). Functional complementarity and specialization: the role of biodiversity in plant–pollinator interactions. Basic and Applied Ecology, 12: 282–91. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2010.11.001

Borror, D.J., Long D.M. & Triplehorn, C.A. (1981). An Introduction to the Study of Insects. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia.

Brittain, C., Kremen, C., Garber, A. & Klein, A.M. (2014). Pollination and plant resources change the nutritional quality of almonds for human health. PLoS ONE, 9(2): e90082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090082

Burd, M. (1994). Bateman’s principle and plant reproduction: the role of pollen limitation in fruit and seed set. Botanical Review, 60(1): 83-139.

Bzdyk, E.L. (2012). A revision of the Megachile subgenus Litomegachile Mitchell with an illustrated key and description of a new species (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae, Megachilini). ZooKeys, 221: 31-61. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.221.3234

Colak, A.M.M., Sahinler, N. & Islamoglu, M. (2017). The effect of honeybee pollination on productivity and quality of strawberry. Alınteri Zirai Bilimler Dergisi, 32(2): 87-90. doi: 10.28955/alinterizbd.335835

Danforth, B.N. (1990). Provisioning behavior and the estimation of investment ratios in a solitary bee, Calliopsis (Hypomacrotera) persimilis (Cockerell) (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 27(3): 159-168. doi: 10.1007/BF00180299

Dev, R., Sharma, G.K., Singh, T., Dayal, D. & Sureshkumar, M. (2017). Distribution of Grewia species in Kachchh Gujarat, India: taxonomy, traditional knowledge and economic potentialities. International Journal of Pure and Applied Biosciences, 5(3): 567-574. doi: 10.18782/2320-7051.5000

Eickwort, G.C. (1975). Nest‐building behavior of the mason bee Hoplitis anthocopoides (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 37(3): 237-254. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1975.tb00879.x

Falque, M., Vincent, A., Vaissiere, B.E. & Eskes, A.B. (1995). Effect of pollination intensity on fruit and seed set in cacao (Theobroma cacao L.). Sexual Plant Reproduction, 8(6): 354-360. doi: 10.1007/BF00243203

Feuerbacher, E., Fewell, J.H., Roberts, S.P., Smith, E.F. & Harrison, J.F. (2003). Effects of load type (pollen or nectar) and load mass on hovering metabolic rate and mechanical power output in the honey bee Apis mellifera. Journal of Experimental Biology, 206(11): 1855-1865. doi: 10.1242/jeb.00347

Ghazoul, J. (2005). Buzziness as usual? Questioning the global pollination crisis. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 20: 367–373. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.04.026

Goulson, D. (1999). Foraging strategies of insects for gathering nectar and pollen, and implications for plant ecology and evolution. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 2(2): 185-209. doi: 10.1078/1433-8319-00070

Hanh, T.T.M., Sharma, S.K. & Rana, M.K. (2014). Pollination efficiency of native bee pollinators of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) in India. Journal of Apiculture, 29(3): 199-205. doi: 10.17519/apiculture.2014.

Harder, L.D. (1983). Flower handling efficiency of bumble bees: morphological aspects of probing time. Oecologia, 57(1/2): 274-280. doi: 10.1007/BF00379591

Holzschuh, A., Dudenhöffer, J.H. & Tscharntke T. (2012). Landscapes with wild bee habitats enhance pollination, fruit set and yield of sweet cherry. Biological Conservation, 153: 101–107. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.04.032

Jauker, F., Bondarenko, B., Becker, H.C. & Dewenter, I.S. (2012). Pollination efficiency of wild bees and hoverflies provided to oilseed rape. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 14: 81–87. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-9563.2011.00541.x

Klatt, B.K. (2013). Bee pollination of strawberries on different spatial scales–from crop varieties and fields to landscapes. Phd Dissertation, University of Gottingen. https://ediss.uni-goettingen.de/handle/11858/00-1735-0000-000E-0B5D-6

Klatt, B.K., Holzschuh, A., Westphal, C., Clough, Y., Smit, I., Pawelzik, E. & Tscharntke, T. (2014b). Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1775): 20132440. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2440

Klatt, B.K., Klaus, F., Westphal, C. and Tscharntke, T. (2014a). Enhancing crop shelf life with pollination. Agriculture & Food Security, 3(14): 1-7. doi: 10.1186/2048-7010-3-14

Klein, A.M., Vaissiere, B.E., Cane, J., Dewenter, I.S., Cunningham, S.A., Kremen, C. & Tscharntke, T. (2007). Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274: 303–313. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3721

Kudo, G. (2003). Anther arrangement influences pollen deposition and removal in hermaphrodite flowers. Functional Ecology. 17: 349-355. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00736.x

Kumar, M., Dwivedi, R., Anand, A.K. & Kumar, A. (2014). Effect of nutrient on physiochemical characteristics of phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis D.C.) fruits. Global Journal of Bio-Science and Biotechnology, 3(3): 320-323.

Kumar, V. (2015). Taxonomic studies on leaf cutter bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) of Karnataka, Phd dissertation, University of Agricultural Sciences GKVK, Bengaluru. http://krishikosh.egranth.ac.in/handle/1/5810028138

Kumar, V., Uthappa, A.R., Srivastava, M., Dunna, V., Malllaiah, K., Manjunatha, N., Rana, M., Newaj, R., Handa, A.K. & Chaturvedi, O.P. (2017). Floral biology of Grewia flavescens Juss.: an underutilized crop. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 64(7): 1789-1795. doi: 10.1007/s10722-017-0536-y

Kumari, P. & Kumar, N.R. (2014). Studies on Megachile Latreille subgenus Callomegachile Michener (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) from Chandigarh and Haryana plains, India. Zootaxa, 3814(4): 591-599. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3814.4.10

Manzoor-ul-haq, G.A. & Inayatullah, R. (1979). Insect visitors of phalsa, Grewia asiatica (Linn) and their role in its pollination. Journal of Agriculture Research, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, 1: 45-50.

Ohara, M. & Higashi, S. (1994). Effects of Inflorescence Size on Visits from Pollinators and Seed Set of Corydalis ambigua (Papaveraceae). Oecologia, 98(1): 25-30.

PARC. (1980). Agro-ecological regions of Pakistan. PARC, Islamabad.

Parmar, C. (1976). Pollination and fruit set in phalsa (Grewia asiatica L.). Agriculture and Agroindustries Journal, 9: 12-4.

Patterson, K.J. (1990). Effects of pollination on fruit set, size, and quality in feijoa (Acca sellowiana (Berg) Burret). New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural. Science, 18(2-3): 127-131. doi: 10.1080/01140671.1990.10428082

Paul, S. (2015). Pharmacological actions and potential uses of Grewia asiatica: A review. International Journal of Applied Research, 1(9): 222-228.

Peterson, J.H. & Roitberg, B.D. (2006). Impacts of flight distance on sex ratio and resource allocation to offspring in the leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 59(5): 589-596. doi: 10.1007/s00265-005-0085-9

Proctor, M., Yeo, P. & Lack, A. (1996). The natural history of pollination. Harper Collins Publishers. 170 p

Randhawa, G.S., & Dass, H.C. (1962). Floral biology of phalsa (Grewia asiatica Linn.). Indian Journal of Horticulture, 19: 19-24.

Sajjad, A., Ali, M. & Saeed, S. (2017). Yearlong association of Apis dorsata and Apis florea with flowering plants: planted forest vs. agricultural landscape. Sociobiology, 64(1): 18-25. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v64i1.995

Sajjad, A., Saeed, S., Muhammad, W. & Arif, M.J. (2009). Role of insects in cross-pollination and yield attributing components of Sesbania sesban. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology, 11: 77-80.

Singh, I., Shankar, U., Abrol, D.P. & Mondal, A. (2017). Diversity of insect pollinators associated with pigeonpea, Cajanus cajan L. Mill sp. and their impact on crop production. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 6(9): 528-535. doi: 10.20546/ijcmas.2017.609.063

Singh, K.K. & Tomar, Y.K. (2015). Effect of planting time and indole butyric acid levels on rooting of woody cuttings of phalsa (Grewia asiatica L.). HortFlora Research Spectrum, 4(1): 39-43.

Singh, K.K., Chauhan, J.S. Rawat, J.M.S. & Rana, D.K. (2015). Effects of different growing conditions and various concentrations of IBA on the rooting and shooting of hardwood cutting of falsa (Grewia asetica L.) under valley condition of Garhwal Himalayas. Plant Archives, 15(1): 131-136.

Sorensen, F.C. & Webber, J.E. (1997). On the relationship between pollen capture and seed set in conifers. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 27(1): 63-68. doi: 10.1139/x96-146

Stephen, W.P. & Osgood, C.E. (1965). Influence of tunnel size and nesting medium on sex ratios in a leaf-cutter bee, Megachile rotundata. Journal of Economic Entomology, 58(5): 965-968. doi: 10.1093/jee/58.5.965

Stubbs, C.S. & Drummond, F.A. (1997). Management of the alfalfa leaf cutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), for pollination of wild lowbush blueberry. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 70(2): 81-93.

Szabo, T.I. & Smith, M.V. (1972). The influence of light intensity and temperature on the activity of the alfalfa leaf-cutter bee Megachile Rotundata under field conditions. Journal of Apicultural Research, 11(3): 157-165. doi: 10.1080/00218839.1972.11099717

Tepedino, V.J. & Frohlich, D.R. (1982). Mortality factors, pollen utilization, and sex ratio in Megachile pugnata Say (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), a candidate for commercial sunflower pollination. Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 90(4): 269-274.

Ullah, W., Ghias, U. & Bina, S.S. (2012). Ethnic uses, pharmacological and phytochemical profile of genus Grewia. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, 14(2): 186-195. doi: 10.1080/10286020.2011.639764

Varassin, I.G., Trigo, J.R. & Sazima, M., (2001). The role of nectar production, flower pigments and odour in the pollination of four species of Passiflora (Passifloraceae) in south-eastren Brazil. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 136(2): 139-152. doi: 10.1006/bojl.2000.0438

Willmer, P.G., Cunnold, H. & Ballantyne, G. (2017). Insights from measuring pollen deposition: quantifying the preeminence of bees as flower visitors and effective pollinators. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 11: 411-425. doi: 10.1007/s11829-017-9528-2

Zameer, S.U., Bilal, M., Fazal, M.I. & Sajjad, A. (2017). Foraging behavior of pollinators leads to effective pollination in radish Raphanus sativus L. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology 5(4): 221-227.

Zia-Ul-Haq, M., Ahmad, S., Imran, I., Ercisli, S. & Moga, M. (2015). Compositional study and antioxidant capacity of Grewia asiatica L. seeds grown in Pakistan. Comptes Rendus de l Academie Bulgare Des Sciences, 68(2): 191-200.

Zia-Ul-Haq, M., Stankovic, M.S., Rizwan, K. & Feo, V.D. (2013). Grewia asiatica L., a food plant with multiple uses. Molecules 18(3): 2663-2682. doi: 10.3390/molecules18032663

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v66i3.4345


  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2019: 0.690