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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-61356

Valido, A; Dupont, Y L; Hansen, D M (2002). Native birds and insects, and introduced honey bees visiting Echium wildpretii (Boraginaceae) in the Canary Islands. Acta Oecologica, 23(6):413-419.

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In this paper, we report observations of flower visitors of the endemic Echium wildpretii in Tenerife, Canary Islands. This plant inhabits the high altitudinal sub-alpine zone, which is characterized by a harsh climate, low species diversity and a short growing season. Echium wildpretii is a monocarpic perennial, producing a 2–3 m column-shaped, red-flowered, nectar-rich inflorescence. Although these floral traits have previously been suggested as being typical of ornithophilous flowers, this is the first study reporting observations of native birds (Phylloscopus collybita and Serinus canarius) in addition to insects visiting the flowers for nectar. The purposes of this study were firstly to investigate levels of visitation by native birds, native insects, and introduced honey bees. Secondly, we studied the influence of floral display (plant height and number of flowers), nearest neighbours (distance and size) and local vegetation structure on visitation rate. Finally, we discuss the evolution of ornithophily in an otherwise entomophilous plant lineage. We found that the level of bird visitation was relatively high early in the flowering season, but decreased in mid/late season, while the opposite pattern was found for introduced honey bees. For native insects, the frequency of visits was similar in early and late season. Bird visits were correlated with floral display. In the early season, visitation rates of honey bees and the two most common native bee species were correlated with size of the plant or its nearest neighbours, consistent with preference patterns for larger resource patches. Since only insects visit the flowers of other species in the Echium clade, E. wildpretii appears to have evolved from a truly insect-pollinated lineage.


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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Deposited On:11 Jul 2012 16:04
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:45
Publisher DOI:10.1016/S1146-609X(02)01167-0
Other Identification Number:Accession Number: WOS:000180233600007

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