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Pollinators/ Schismatoglottis species

  • Subject: Pollinators/ Schismatoglottis species
  • From: <ju-bo@msn.com>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 11:00:58 +0000

> From: botanist@malesiana.com
> To: aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
> Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 05:39:11 +0800
> Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species

Dear Pete, Leland and Aroid Friends,

Just a word of caution here on deciding what the true pollinators are, even if they are observed visiting or actually inside an aroid bloom---I remember well a talk given by Dr. Susan Thompson at the MOBOT aroid symposium which I attended, where she explained and illustrated with many wonderful photos that many insects observed at or even in an aroid infloresence may not be the actual pollinators.   Long observations and experiments are done to determine exactly which insect or more than one insect have evolved as the pollenators, and can and do actually collect, hold the pollen on their bodies, and transfer it to another bloom.   Many insects may visit a bloom to feed or collect valuable resources, but are NOT the pollinators.   A case in point which I can think of to illustrate this are the small stingless bees which visit Philodendron blooms.   They collect the resin which becomes wax-like with age, and use it in their nest construction.   It is Cyclocephaline scrab beetle
 s that do the actual pollination, and are large enough to tollerate their bodies being covered with the resin produced by the bloom,  which the pollen then adhers to, and they are strong enough to fly to another receptive bloom where the pollen is transfered to the receptive female flowers.   The small bees can not/do not do this.
Dr. Thompson showed photos of some aroid blooms in which some beetles just eat their way through the spathe wall and into the spathe`s lower chamber, there to feed indiscriminately on not only the sterile flowers, but on the female flowers as well, to them it is just a food source, and by learning to by-pass the ''system'' of pollination, they do no ''good'' to the plant, in fact they destroy that particular bloom.   
Another case which comes to mind was when our Wilbert Hetterschied and the late Dr. Jim Symon observed Amorphophallus titanum blooming in nature, many bees, beetles, and other insects were observed visiting an open and receptive bloom, but I`m not certain if the correct pollinator was determined from amongst the many ''visitors''.
I would expect that the determination of which birds, insects or even small animals are the ''correct/sucessful''distributors of fruit/seeds to be an equally challenging task!

I hope these random thoughts help.

Good Growing,


> Dear Leland,
> There has been a bit of intensive study (mainly by our students here and also by Marc Gibernau when he visited us) and over the years I have made a considerable number of casual observations such that we are pretty much sure that four groups of insects, three beetle families (Nitidulidae (flower beetles), Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) and Staphylinidae (Rove beetles)) and one fly genus (Colocasiomyia - Drosophilidae) are the regular visitors. Very occasionally one or two species of Scarabidae turn up in the large inloresceneces of the Calyptrata group.
> Fruit set in habitat is abundant (seemingly close on 100%) but there is a fair degree of fruit predation in some species such that I would estimate that fruit reaching maturity is probably less than 60%.
> Another area with very little data is that of fruit dispersal. On the rare occasion I have seen dispersing fruits it would appear that ants are the main vector, seemingly attracted to the slightly sweet fruit and carrying the fruits (which detach from the spadix axis at maturity and cohere in loose masses inside the lower spathe, which opens by a few irregular splits. At the nursery I watched numerous green tree ants (which paradoxically are red in Sarawak but no less pugnacious than their gren forms) collect fruit from a species (yet to be described) in the asperata complex and carry them to thier arboreal nest.
> Best
> Peter
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "brian lee" <lbmkjm@yahoo.com>
> To: "Discussion of aroids" <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 2:18 AM
> Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species
>> Dear Peter,
>> Aloha.
>> Again wonderful detail to accompany your replies.  I did not see any attached image of Schismatoglottis corneri...  I had no idea that some of these species attained these dimensions.  My slim knowledge of the genus centered around small species. Those species I have seen are highly ornamental, but quite rare, at least in Hawaii.
>> I am really enjoying the ecological details that you are supplying, especially if these species become available in the future.  Do you know the specific pollinators or group of pollinators that are involved in Schismatoglottis?  Is fruit set common in habitat?
>> Aloha,
>> Leland
>> --- On Mon, 6/16/08, Peter Boyce <botanist@malesiana.com> wrote:
>>> From: Peter Boyce <botanist@malesiana.com>
>>> Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species
>>> To: "Discussion of aroids" <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
>>> Date: Monday, June 16, 2008, 8:23 PM
>>> Dear Michael,
>>> Schismatoglottis corneri is so far known from western Sabah
>>> and the Anambas islands. In Sabah it is particularly notable
>>> as an often abundant roadside element on the road ascent
>>> from KK to Poring, especially as the road rises to cross
>>> the saddle below Poring. Interestingly while in Mulu last
>>> year we encountered a very small colony of what we think
>>> may be the same species near the mouth of the Melinau
>>> Gorge. The plants were sterile and have yet to flower in
>>> cultivation here in Kuching, although they are growing
>>> well. If this is S. corneri then it will be a new recprd
>>> for Sarawa; alternatively it may tun out to be a new
>>> species. This latter option would come as no great surprise
>>> since the overwhelming majority of the herbaceous aroids at
>>> Mulu are endemic. Whatever its eventual confirmed identity
>>> I attach an image of one of the medium-sized plants if the
>>> Mulu colony with Jipom (who stands 1.75) for comparison.
>>> I am not at all familiar with the neotropical
>>> 'Schismatoglottis', having onl seen S. sprucena in
>>> the field. However, the molecular exidence is that thay do
>>> not belong in Schismatoglottis; there is an alternative
>>> generic name for at least some of the neotropical species:
>>> Philonotion published in the 1850s
>>> Very best
>>> Peter
>>>   ----- Original Message -----
>>>   From: RAYMOMATTLA@cs.com
>>>   To: aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
>>>   Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 7:45 AM
>>>   Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Schismatoglottis species
>>>   Wow Peter,
>>>   I'll be waiting to see a picture of the one with
>>> leaves that can get over 3m tall, (S. cornei.)  Is that
>>> species from Sarawak as well?  Are you familiar with the
>>> very few species of Schismatoglottis from the Neotropics
>>> and if so do you think they will ever be given their own
>>> genus?  That might be a question for Eduardo too...
>>>   Michael Mattlage
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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