Hostname: page-component-758b78586c-58mml Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-11-29T19:37:13.470Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

The influence of floral traits on insect foraging behaviour on medicinal plants in an urban garden of eastern India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2021

Pushan Chakraborty*
Department of Zoology, Jogamaya Devi College, 92, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road, Kolkata700026, West Bengal, India
Poulami Adhikary Mukherjee
Department of Zoology, Narajole Raj College, Narajole-721211, West Midnapore, West Bengal, India
Supratim Laha
Ecology Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, 35, B. C. Road, Kolkata- 700019, West Bengal, India
Salil Kumar Gupta
Medicinal Plants Research and Extension Centre, Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narendrapur, Kolkata -700080, West Bengal, India
Author for correspondence:*Pushan Chakraborty, Email:


Understanding the pollination biology of medicinal plants and their important insect pollinators is necessary for their conservation. The present study explored the complex interactions between pollinator visitation and effect of floral traits on pollinator behaviour on seven medicinal plant species grown in an urban garden in West Bengal, an eastern Indian state. The observations revealed 30 morphospecies of insect flower visitors (Diptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera) that touched floral reproductive parts on the selected plants during visitation. Additionally, it was observed that floral traits (e.g., corolla length and corolla opening diameter) were important predictors of the behaviour of insects when visiting the flowers. Plant–pollinator interactions were analysed using a bipartite network approach which explored the important links between insect and plants in the network revealing the key interactions, and species which are crucial to system maintenance. This piece of work contributes to our ability to understand and maintain a stable medicinal plant–pollinator network which will support efforts to conserve native flora and insects.

Research Article
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Albrecht, M, Schmid, B, Hautier, Y and Müller, CB (2012) Diverse pollinator communities enhance plant reproductive success. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 279, 48454852.Google ScholarPubMed
Altissimi, G, Colizza, A, Cianfrone, G, Vincentiis, M, Greco, A, Taurone, S, Musacchio, A, Ciofalo, A, Turchetta, R, Angeletti, D and Ralli, M (2020) Drugs inducing hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo: an updated guide. Eurpean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Science 24, 79467952.Google ScholarPubMed
Amaya-Márquez, M (2009) Floral constancy in bees: a revision of theories and a comparison with other pollinators. Revista Colombiana de Entomología 35, 206216.Google Scholar
Barton, K and Barton, MK (2019) ‘Package MuMIn: multi-model inference. R package version.1.42.1. Available at: (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Bascompte, J and Jordano, P (2007) Plant-animal mutualistic networks: The architecture of biodiversity. Annual Reviews of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 38, 567593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bauer, AA, Clayton, MK and Brunet, J (2017) Floral traits influencing plant attractiveness to three bee species: consequences for plant reproductive success. American Journal of Botany 104, 772781.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Benitez-Vieyra, S, Perez-Alquicira, J, Sazatornil, FD, Dominguez, CA, Boege, K, Perez-Ishiwara, R and Fornoni, J (2019) Evolutionary transition between bee pollination and hummingbird pollination in Salvia: Comparing means, variances and covariances of corolla traits. Journal of evolutionary biology 32, 783793.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Burnham, KP and Anderson, DR (2002) Model Section and Multimodel Inferences: A Practical-theoretic Approach (2nd edn). Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
Butts, CT and Butts, MC (2019) Package ‘sna’. Available at: (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Darwin, C (1877) The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. London: John Murray.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davidson-Hunt, I (2000) Ecological ethnobotany: stumbling toward new practices and paradigms. MASA Journal 16, 113.Google Scholar
Dhiman, A, Nanda, A and Ahmad, S (2012) A recent update in research on the antihepatotoxic potential of medicinal plants. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao 10, 117127.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dormann, CF, Fruend, J, Gruber, B and Dormann, MC (2019) Package ‘bipartite’. Version 2.14. Available at (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Gonzalez, AM, Dalsgaard, B and Olesen, JM (2010) Centrality measures and the importance of generalist species in pollination networks. Ecological Complexity 7, 3643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goraya, GS and Ved, DK (2015) Medicinal Plant Species in Commercial Demand: Consolidated Inventory and Analysis. Available at (accessed 06 Jan 2021).Google Scholar
Gullan, PJ and Cranston, PS (2014) The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
Hothorn, T, Zeileis, A, Farebrother, RW, Cummins, C, Millo, G, Mitchell, D and Zeileis, MA (2019) Rpackage ‘lmtest’. Available at (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Johnson, NF and Triplehorn, CA (2005) Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Belmont, CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
Jordan, F, Liu, WC and Davis, AJ (2006) Topological keystone species: measures of positional importance in food webs. Oikos 112, 535546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Khan, MSA and Ahmad, I (2019) Herbal Medicine: Current Trends and Future Prospects. In New Look to Phytomedicine. Cambridge: Elsevier, pp. 313.Google Scholar
Klumpers, SG, Stang, M and Klinkhamer, PG (2019) Foraging efficiency and size matching in a plant–pollinator community: the importance of sugar content and tongue length. Ecology letters 22, 469479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kutner, MH, Nachtsheim, CJ and Neter, J (2004) Applied linear regression models (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Laha, S, Chatterjee, S, Das, A, Smith, B and Basu, P (2019) Non-crop Floral Traits as Determinants of Bee Visitation in a Tropical Agricultural Landscape. Proceedings of the Zoological Soceity. Scholar
Laha, S, Chatterjee, S, Das, A, Smith, B and Basu, P (2020) Exploring the importance of floral resources and functional trait compatibility for maintaining bee fauna in tropical agricultural landscapes. Journal of Insect Conservation. Scholar
Luardini, MA, Asi, N and Garner, M (2019) Ecolinguistics of ethno-medicinal plants of the Dayak Ngaju community. Language Sciences 74, 7784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mazerolle, MJ and Mazerolle, MM (2019) AICcmodavg: model selection and multimodal inference based on (Q)AIC(c). R package version 2.1–1. (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Michener, CD (2007) The bees of the world (2nd edition). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.Google Scholar
Miraj, SS, Parveen, N and Chaudhari, SA (2020) In the Back Drop of Overuse of Synthetic Drugs, can Botanicals be One of the Answers: A Pilot Study on the Medicinal Use of Chlorophytum and Curcuma by Tribals of Central India. Current Traditional Medicine 6, 7583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murua, M (2020) Different Pollinators’ Functional Traits Can Explain Pollen Load in Two Solitary Oil-Collecting Bees. Insects 11, 685. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nakazawa, M and Nakazawa, MM (2019) Package fmsb: functions for Medical Statistics Book with some Demographic Data. R package version 0.6.3. (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Oksanen, J, Blanchet, FG, Kindt, R, Legendre, P, Minchin, PR, O’hara, RB, Simpson, GL, Solymos, P, Stevens, MH, Wagner, H and Oksanen, MJ (2013) Package ‘vegan’. Community ecology package, version. 2, 1295.Google Scholar
Olesen, JM, Bascompte, J, Dupont, YL and Jordano, P (2007) The modularity of pollination networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, 1989119896.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Oyebode, O, Kandala, NB, Chilton, PJ and Lilford, RJ (2016) Use of traditional medicine in middle-income countries: a WHO-SAGE study. Health Policy and Planning 31, 984991.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Paria, ND (2005) Medicinal plant resources of south West Bengal. Research Wing, Directorate of Forests, Government of West Bengal, in collaboration with Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal.Google Scholar
Peach, K, Liu, JW, Klitgaard, KN and Mazer, SJ (2020) Sex-specific floral attraction traits in a sequentially hermaphroditic species. Ecology and Evolution 10, 18561875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
R Development Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Google Scholar
Rianti, P, Suryobroto, B and Atmowidi, T (2010) Diversity and effectiveness of insect pollinators of Jatropha curcas L.(Euphorbiaceae). HAYATI Journal of Biosciences 17, 3842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ripley, B, Bates, D, Hornik, K, Gebhardt, A and Firth, D (2011) Package ‘MASS’. Available at: (accessed 20 Sep 2019).Google Scholar
Ruíz-Ramón, F, Aguila, DJ, Egea-Cortines, M and Weiss, J (2014) Optimization of fragrance extraction: Daytime and flower age affect scent emission in simple and double narcissi. Industrial Crops and Products 52, 671678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schiestl, FP and Johnson, SD (2013) Pollinator-mediated evolution of floral signals. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28, 307315.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sultana, S, Rahman, S, Akand, S, Hoque, MF, Miah, MS and Bashar, MA (2017) Butterfly probosces and their functional relations with the nectar plants in some selected forests. Journal of Biodiversity Conservation and Bioresource Management 3, 93102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tiwari, S (2008) Plants: A rich source of herbal medicine. Journal of Natural Products 1, 2735.Google Scholar
Udaondo, Z and Huertas, MJ (2020) Fighting the enemy: one health approach against microbial resistance. Microbial Biotechnology 13, 888.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
UNESCO (1996) Culture and Health, Orientation Texts – World Decade for Cultural Development 1988–1997, Document CLT/DEC/PRO – 1996, Paris, France, pgs. 129.Google Scholar
Uniyal, SK, Awasthi, A and Rawat, GS (2002) Current status and distribution of commercially exploited medicinal and aromatic plants in upper Gori valley, Kumaon Himalaya, Uttaranchal. Current Science 25, 12461252.Google Scholar
Ushimaru, A and Hyodo, F (2005) Why do bilaterally symmetrical flowers orient vertically? Flower orientation influences pollinator landing behaviour. Evolutionary Ecology Research 7, 151160.Google Scholar
Worley, AC, Baker, AM, Thompson, JD and Barrett, SC (2000) Floral display in Narcissus: variation in flower size and number at the species, population, and individual levels. International Journal of Plant Sciences 161, 6979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhang, J, Onakpoya, IJ, Posadzki, P and Eddouks, M (2015) The safety of herbal medicine: from prejudice to evidence. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015, 13.Google ScholarPubMed
Supplementary material: PDF

Chakraborty et al. supplementary material

Figure S1

Download Chakraborty et al. supplementary material(PDF)
Supplementary material: PDF

Chakraborty et al. supplementary material

Table S1

Download Chakraborty et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 238 KB