Pollination success in three tropical dry forest orchid species from Mexico: insights from floral display, visitation rates, and flower micromorphology

  • Yazmín Miranda-Molina Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, Mexico http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8705-7197
  • Edgar J. González Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, Mexico. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9113-1070
  • Judith Márquez-Guzmán Departamento de Biología Comparada, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, Mexico https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0463-3775
  • Jorge A. Meave Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, Mexico https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6241-8803
  • Eduardo A. Pérez García Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4136-4500
keywords: Barkeria whartoniana, Clowesia dodsoniana, Cyrtopodium macrobulbon, Euglossine bees, floral display, flower micromorphology


Background: Despite long-lasting efforts to disentangle the drivers of orchid pollination, pollination success in tropical dry forest orchids remains largely unknown.

Questions and hypothesis: How successful are pollination in three tropical dry forest orchids? How is pollination influenced by floral display and floral rewards (as suggested by floral micromorphology)? We hypothesized a positive effect of floral display on pollinia removal and deposition rates.

Studied species: Barkeria whartoniana (C. Schweinf.) Soto Arenas, Clowesia dodsoniana E. Aguirre, and Cyrtopodium macrobulbon (La Llave & Lex.) G.A. Romero & Carnevali.

Study site and dates: Nizanda (Oaxaca), Mexico; flowering periods of 2013 and 2014.

Methods: We calculated pollinia removal and deposition rates, identified floral visitors and analyzed flower microstructure to search for structures potentially producing rewards. Floral display was measured through number of open flowers, and number and length of inflorescences, and its effect on pollination success was assessed through linear modeling.

Results: Pollinia removal rates were higher than deposition rates, and floral display was related to pollination success in C. dodsoniana only. Visitation rates were low for the three species and most visitors were not true pollinators. The three species possess potentially secreting structures, but for B. whartoniana and C. macrobulbon these rewards are likely part of the pollinator deception mechanism.

Conclusions: The generalized low pollination success implies the need for high population densities of both interacting parts. We emphasize the need for integrated evaluations of different aspects of the plant-pollinator interaction.


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Pollination success in three tropical dry forest orchid species from Mexico: insights from floral display, visitation rates, and flower micromorphology


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How to Cite
Miranda-Molina, Y. M., González, E. J., Márquez-Guzmán, J., Meave, J., & Pérez García , E. A. (2021). Pollination success in three tropical dry forest orchid species from Mexico: insights from floral display, visitation rates, and flower micromorphology. Botanical Sciences, 99(4), 771-790. https://doi.org/10.17129/botsci.2785