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Bees are supplementary pollinators of self-compatible chiropterophilous durian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2018

Kanuengnit Wayo
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand
Chama Phankaew
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Chatuchuk, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Alyssa B. Stewart
Department of Plant Science, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Sara Bumrungsri*
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand


Nocturnally foraging insects may be supplementary pollinators to chiropterophilous plant species when bats are scarce. Given that insects are much smaller than bats, they may be more effective at transferring pollen for plant species with similar stamen and pistil lengths, such as the ‘Monthong’ durian cultivar. The present study clarifies the role of insects in pollinating the ‘Monthong’ cultivar by examining the floral biology, conducting pollination treatments on 19 trees and observing floral visitors in southern Thailand. Stigmas were receptive by 17h00, and over 50% of ‘Monthong’ anthers had dehisced by 17h30. Several bee species began foraging on flowers during the late afternoon, and the giant honey bee (Apis dorsata) continued to visit throughout the night. Our results show that at 4 wk after pollination, the highest fruit set occurred from hand-crossed pollination (13.5%), followed by open pollination (5.5%), insect pollination (3.3%) and automatic autogamy (2.0%), indicating that this cultivar is highly self-incompatible. Moreover, insects appear to be important pollinators of ‘Monthong’ durian in areas where nectar bats visit infrequently. One bee species in particular, Apis dorsata, commonly foraged on flowers at dusk and appears to be the most effective insect pollinator of durian. Our findings highlight that nocturnally foraging bees are capable of securing pollination for night-blooming plant taxa, even those typically considered to be bat-pollinated.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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