Effects of sexual dimorphism on pollinator behaviour in a dioecious species [article]

Laura Moquet, Anne-Laure Jacquemart, Mathilde Dufay, Isabelle De Cauwer
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Floral traits often display sexual dimorphism in insect-pollinated dioecious plant species, with male individuals typically being showier than females. While this strategy is theorized to be optimal when pollinators are abundant, it might represent a risk when they become scarce, because the disproportionately high number of visits on the most attractive sex, males, might preclude efficient pollen transfer from males to females. Here, the effect of sexual dimorphism on pollination efficiency
more » ... assessed in experimental arrays of dioecious Silene dioica that were exposed to one frequent visitor of the species, Bombus terrestris, and that differed in the magnitude of sexual dimorphism for either flower number or flower size. While flower size dimorphism did not impact pollination efficiency, we found that flower number dimorphism negatively affected the number of visits on female plants, on female flowers and on the number of female flowers visited after a male flower. However, flower number dimorphism had no effect on the number of pollen grains deposited per stigma, presumably because the decrease in the number of visits to female flowers was compensated by a higher number of pollen grains deposited per visit.
doi:10.1101/2021.04.15.440026 fatcat:tqr6jnr5pveelokpcka6issgxm