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Pollination Ecology of Vaccinium stamineum (Ericaceae: Vaccinioideae)

James H. Cane, George C. Eickwort, F. Robert Wesley and Joan Spielholz
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 72, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 135-142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443575
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Pollination Ecology of Vaccinium stamineum (Ericaceae: Vaccinioideae)
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Abstract

Successful fruit set by deerberry, Vaccinium stamineum (Ericaceae: Vaccinioideae) requires floral visitation by insects, and in particular by bees that collect its pollen by sonication of anthers ("buzz-pollination"). A diversity of bees visit deerberry flowers, but most species are either 1) infrequent, 2) polylectic (broad host range for pollen), or 3) principally nectar-seeking, and so are unimportant as pollen vectors. Both sexes of the solitary, oligolectic bee Melitta americana (Melittidae) are abundant at flowering deerberry bushes in central New York State. Female M. americana sonicate the deerberry anthers while imbibing nectar, and carry virtually pure scopal loads of deerberry pollen, unlike the other common visitor, Xylocopa virginica (Anthophoridae). Comparative analyses of bee 1) abundances, 2) buzz-pollination behaviors, 3) pollen fidelities, and 4) pollination efficiencies, all indicate that Melitta americana is the primary pollinator of Vaccinium stamineum.

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