An ancient pollinator of a contemporary plant (Cyclamen persicum): When pollination syndromes break down
Schwartz-Tzachora, R., Dafni, A., Potts, S. G. and Eisikowitch, D. (2006) An ancient pollinator of a contemporary plant (Cyclamen persicum): When pollination syndromes break down. Flora, 201. pp. 370-373. ISSN 0367-2530
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2005.07.011
Pollination of Cyclamen persicum (Primulaceae) was studied in two wild populations in Israel. Buzz-pollination proved to be extremely rare, and performed by a large Anthophora bee only. The most frequent pollinators were various unspecialized species of thrips (Thysanoptera) and hoverflies (Syrphidae). In the Winter-flowering populations the commonest visitor was a small primitive moth, Micropteris elegans (Micropterigidae, Lepidoptera). These moths feed on pollen, copulate and oviposit within the flowers. From the rarity of buzz-pollination it is concluded that the genus Cyclamen co-evolved with large bees capable of buzz-pollination, but lost its original pollinators for unknown historical reasons. The vacant niche was then open to various unspecialized pollen consumers such as thrips, hoverflies and small solitary bees. While these insects are not specific to C. persicum and seem to play a minor role only, the moth strictly relies upon Cyclamen and seems to be the most efficient pollinator.