Stability of floral specialization inTrollius europaeusin contrasting ecological environments

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Abstract

Specialization of some plants on seed-eating pollinators is intriguing, especially when co-pollinators exclusively feeding on nectar are also present. We examined the stability of the morphological specialization of Trollius europaeus (L.) globeflowers with respect to Chiastocheta (Pokorny) flies by artificially opening the flowers. In the montane and subalpine environments studied, other visitors contributed 2% and 28% of all the visits, respectively, and visited open flowers nearly eight times more often than closed flowers, but in both environments their contribution to pollination did not compensate for Chiastocheta aversion against open phenotypes. Net seed set (female success) was slightly higher (+4%) and pollen export (male success) was much higher (+85%) for closed than open flowers. Selection in favour of the closed phenotype was even more intense in patches where open phenotypes were most common, precluding the evolution of open flowers in the study populations.

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