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Pollen Loads of Honey Possums (Tarsipes Spenserae) and Nonflying Mammal Pollination in Southwestern Australia

Delbert Wiens, Marilyn Renfree and Ronald O. Wooller
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 66, No. 4 (1979), pp. 830-838
DOI: 10.2307/2398921
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2398921
Page Count: 9
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Pollen Loads of Honey Possums (Tarsipes Spenserae) and Nonflying Mammal Pollination in Southwestern Australia
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Abstract

Pollen loads were analyzed from 30 honey possums in the Albany region of southwestern Australia. The pollen of Banksia attenuata was the major component of the pollen loads followed by Adenanthos cuneata and Banksia coccinea. The data from pollen loads and flower-head morphometrics indicate that Tarsipes is the primary pollinator of Banksia attenuata, and not birds as might be surmised from other characteristics. Tarsipes also visits typically bird-pollinated plants such as Banksia coccinea and Adenanthos cuneata, but little or no pollination would be expected from such visitation. The lack of distinct flowering seasonality in the southwestern Australian flora is correlated with the presence of a high percentage of long-lived, resident pollinators such as birds and nonflying mammals. A number of plant genera are mentioned which show possible adaptations for pollination by nonflying mammals. Several groups of small mammals which might play a role in pollination are also discussed.

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