Does Oeceoclades maculata (Orchidaceae) reabsorb nectar?

  • João Marcelo Robazzi Bignelli Valente Aguiar Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Comparada, Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
  • Emerson Ricardo Pansarin Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Abstract

Nectar is the most common resource offered by orchid flowers. In some cases, flowers reabsorb nectar as part of a resource-recovery strategy. Nectar is present only in the morning in the widespread orchid Oececoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl. To determine whether this is due to reabsorption or evaporation of water, the volume of nectar and its concentration in previously bagged flowers were determined throughout the day at two hourly intervals. In addition, the entrance to the nectary of flowers of cultivated plants was obstructed with petroleum jelly in the morning, to prevent the evaporation of water and, in the afternoon, the presence of nectar was recorded. Furthermore, manually self-pollinated flowers, also with the entrance to the nectary obstructed, had their nectary checked 24 hours after pollination to determine whether post-pollination reabsorption occurred. In addition, the period when the pollinators of O. maculata foraged for nectar was determined in order to establish whether it was associated with the period when nectar was available. The volume and concentration of nectar in O. maculata flowers vary from 0.82 μl (25.10%) between 10–12 h and 0.36 μl (33.73%) between 16–18 h and this difference is caused by evaporation of water. Post-pollination reabsorption does not occur in this species. Pollinators forage most actively between 10–12 h. Thus, O. maculata does not reabsorb nectar, but evaporative water loss is a significant factor determining the variation in the volume and concentration of this reward and this is positively correlated with butterfly visitation.

Published
2013-11-30
Section
Articles