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      Bumblebee pollination of understorey shrub species in a tropical montane forest in Costa Rica

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          Abstract

          This study addresses the pollination ecology of shrub species in an upper montane forest in Costa Rica, where the diversity of insect visitors is much below that of the well-studied tropical forests of lower elevations. Data are presented on visitation rates by the tropical bumblebee Bombus ephippiatus to flowers of three species, pollen loads on bumblebee bodies, and pollen loads on stigmas of two of the species. High visitation rates to flowers of Palicourea brenesii were found, a species which produces copious amounts of nectar. Visitation rates to nectarless Leandra subseriata and Deppea grandiflora were much lower. Conspecific pollen comprised on average 90% of the pollen load on stigmas of Leandra, while Palicourea stigmas carried only 26 to 55% conspecific pollen. With only two ovules per flower, fruit and seed set in Palicourea were not limited by a shortage of conspecific pollen. In Leandra, 20–25% of the flowers received too few conspecific pollen grains for maximum seed set among 440 ovules per flower. Individual bumblebees showed no constancy in plant choice, judging from the high number of different pollen types (6–12) on their bodies. Workers returned frequently to the same Palicourea patch without visiting nearby Palicourea plants, which suggests the use of foraging paths.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Journal of Tropical Ecology
          J. Trop. Ecol.
          Cambridge University Press (CUP)
          0266-4674
          1469-7831
          September 2000
          November 16 2000
          September 2000
          : 16
          : 5
          : 657-672
          Article
          10.1017/S0266467400001632
          © 2000

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