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Community Studies in Pollination Ecology in the High Temperate Andes of Central Chile. I. Pollination Mechanisms and Altitudinal Variation

Mary T. Kalin Arroyo, Richard Primack and Juan Armesto
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jan., 1982), pp. 82-97
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2442833
Page Count: 16
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Community Studies in Pollination Ecology in the High Temperate Andes of Central Chile. I. Pollination Mechanisms and Altitudinal Variation
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Abstract

Pollination mechanisms and pollinators are reported for a total of 137 species (75% of the non-abiotically pollinated flora) as they occur at three altitudinal levels (subandean scrub: 2,200-2,600 m; cushion-plant zone: 2,700-3,100 m; subnival feldfield: 3,200-3,600 m) in the Andean (alpine) zone on the Cordon del Cepo (33⚬17′S) in central Chile as part of community oriented research in reproductive biology in the high temperate Andes of South America. Only around 4% of the species studied failed to be visited by potential pollinators. Hymenopterans (principally bees) are important pollinators of 50% of the biotically pollinated flora, butterflies of 24% and flies of 46%. Other vectors include beetles, moths, and hummingbirds. An estimated 17% of the flora is anemophilous. Bee species-richness, specialist feeding, and melittophily reach maxima in the subandean scrub; thereafter, bees diminish rapidly in number, with bees pollinating only 13% of the subnival flora as contrasted with 68% of the subandean flora. Although fly and butterfly species-richness also decline with increasing altitude, the proportions of species pollinated by these vectors actually increases. High-altitude populations of melittophilous species with broad altitudinal ranges are invariably serviced by fewer bee species as compared with lower populations. The rich bee fauna at the lower end of the Andean zone in central Chile appears to have resulted from upward colonization from that of the subtending lowland Mediterranean sclerophyllous woodland vegetation. Altitudinal variation in pollination spectra is discussed in relation to contrasting life history characteristics and different modes of thermoregulation in the insect groups involved.

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