Lippok, Barbara; Gardine, Angela A.; Williamson, Paula S.; Renner, Susanne S.
Pollination by flies, bees, and beetles of Nuphar ozarkana and N. advena (Nymphaeaceae).
In: American journal of botany, Vol. 87, No. 6: pp. 898-902
Nuphar comprises 13 species of aquatic perennials distributed in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The European species N. lutea and N. pumila in Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany are pollinated by bees and flies, including apparent Nuphar specialists. This contrasts with reports of predominant beetle pollination in American N. advena and N. polysepala. We studied pollination in N. ozarkana in Missouri and N. advena in Texas to assess whether (1) there is evidence of pollinator shifts associated with floral-morphological differences between Old World and New World species as hypothesized by Padgett, Les, and Crow (American Journal of Botany 86: 1316–1324. 1999) and (2) whether beetle pollination characterizes American species of Nuphar. Ninety-seven and 67% of flower visits in the two species were by sweat bees, especially Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) nelumbonis. Syrphid fly species visiting both species were Paragus sp., Chalcosyrphus metallicus, and Toxomerus geminatus. The long-horned leaf beetle Donacia piscatrix was common on leaves and stems of N. ozarkana but rarely visited flowers. Fifteen percent of visits to N. advena flowers were by D. piscatrix and D. texana. The beetles’
role as pollinators was investigated experimentally by placing floating mesh cages that excluded flies and bees over N. advena buds about to open and adding beetles. Beetles visited 40% of the flowers in cages, and flowers that received visits had 69% seed set, likely due to beetle-mediated geitonogamy of 1st-d flowers. Experimentally outcrossed 1st-d flowers had 62% seed set, and open-pollinated flowers 76%; 2nd-d selfed or outcrossed flowers had low seed sets (9 and 12%, respectively). Flowers are strongly protogynous and do not self spontaneously. Flowers shielded from pollinators set no seeds. A comparison of pollinator spectra in the two Old World and three New World Nuphar species studied so far suggests that the relative contribution of flies, bees, and beetles to pollen transfer in any one population depends more on these insects’ relative abundances (and in the case of Donacia, presence) and alternative food sources than on stamen length differences between Old World and New World pond-lilies.