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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 57(1)

A catch-all leguminous tree: Erythrina velutina visited and pollinated by vertebrates at an oceanic island

Ivan Sazima A, Cristina Sazima B, Marlies Sazima C D

A Museu de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil (retired and associated as voluntary researcher).
B Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
C Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
D Corresponding author. Email: msazima@unicamp.br
 
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Abstract

Species of the pantropical genus Erythrina (Fabaceae) are visited by perching and/or hovering birds in the mainland. At the oceanic island of Fernando de Noronha, north-eastern Brazil, we found that Erythrina velutina Willd. blooms during the dry season and the flowers are visited by a small vertebrate assemblage. Flowers last 2 days and their stigmas remain receptive, although only first-day flowers produce nectar. Nectar is dilute and produced copiously. All terrestrial native vertebrates (three of them endemics), the dove Zenaida auriculata noronha, the perching birds Vireo gracilirostris and Elaenia ridleyana, and the lizard Euprepis atlanticus are regular visitors and pollinators. The features of E. velutina conform to those of passerine-pollinated species within the genus. Its nectar is a resource sought by the vertebrates, which visit the inflorescences from dawn to sunset. Since none of the visitors depends on nectar as a major food source, the flowers are likely to serve a dual purpose, i.e. water balance and energy intake, similarly to the findings for some Erythrina species in Neotropic and Palaeotropic mainlands. However, E. velutina is the only species within the genus that is visited and pollinated by doves and lizards.

   
    
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