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Mimicry of Male by Female Flowers and Intrasexual Competition for Pollinators in Jacaratia dolichaula (D. Smith) Woodson (Caricaceae)
K. S. Bawa
Vol. 34, No. 3 (May, 1980), pp. 467-474
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408216
Page Count: 8
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The female flowers of Jacaratia dolichaula (Caricaceae) lack corolla tubes and produce no nectar. By contrast the male flowers have a well developed corolla tube, and produce more than 10 μ l of nectar per flower. The flowers have a similar sweet smell and are pollinated by sphingid moths. It is suggested that the female flowers mimic male flowers: white, petaloid, stigmatic lobes of female flowers are remarkably similar to white corolla lobes of male flowers. The mimicry operates through the numerical excess of male over female flowers; the numerical inequality itself probably results from intrasexual competition for pollinators. The indirect evidence for intrasexual competition is provided by the early flowering of male plants. It is proposed that in zoophilous species there usually is a certain degree of morphological similarity between male and female flowers, but when the number of male flowers vastly exceeds the number of female flowers, there is probably very intense selection for female flowers to conform to the search image developed by the pollinator for the male flower. When female flowers appear very similar to male flowers, selection for the production of floral rewards in female flowers may cease provided these flowers avoid discrimination by the pollinators by being randomly distributed in low frequencies.
Evolution © 1980 Society for the Study of Evolution