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The Effects of a Bumble Bee Nectar Robber on Plant Reproductive Success and Pollinator Behavior

Joan E. Maloof
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 88, No. 11 (Nov., 2001), pp. 1960-1965
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3558423
Page Count: 6
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The Effects of a Bumble Bee Nectar Robber on Plant Reproductive Success and Pollinator Behavior
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Abstract

Interactions between a plant species (Corydalis caseana), a bumble bee nectar robber (Bombus occidentalis), and a bumble bee pollinator (B. appositus) were studied. There were no significant differences between naturally robbed and unrobbed flowers in fruit set or mean seed set per fruit. Plots of C. caseana plants were subjected to treatments of robbing and no robbing using commercially available colonies of B. occidentalis. Robbers did not pollinate the flowers. Pollinator behavior was observed to determine (1) the number of bees attracted to each plot, (2) the number of inflorescences visited in a plot, (3) the number of flowers visited on each inflorescence, and (4) the distance flown between inflorescences. There were no significant differences in the number of inflorescences visited per bee or the number of flowers visited per inflorescence per bee when robbed and unrobbed treatments were compared. Of the parameters measured, only distance flown between inflorescences differed in the robbed and the unrobbed treatments. Bees flew significantly further between inflorescences in the robbed plots than in the unrobbed plots. The results indicate that the nectar robbers have no negative effect on fruit set or seed set in C. caseana and that they may cause increased pollen flow distances by changing the behavior of the pollinator.

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