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Diel patterns of activity for insect pollinators of two oil palm species (Arecales : Arecaceae)

Auffray T., Frérot B., Poveda R., Louise C., Beaudoin-Ollivier L.. 2017. Journal of Insect Science, 17 (2) : e45 (6 p.).

The pollination of two oil palm species, Elaeis guineensis Jacquin and Elaeis oleifera Cortés (Arecales: Arecaceae), depends on a mutualistic relation with insects, which use male inflorescences as a brood site, and visits female inflorescences lured by the emitted odor, which is similar to that of males. Although the activity of visiting the inflorescences by these insects is critical for the adequate natural pollination of the host plant, their activity is poorly documented. In the present study, we determine the diel activity of two specialized pollinator weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on inflorescences of their respective host-palm: Elaeidobius kamerunicus Faust specialized on E. guineensis, and Grasidius hybridus O'Brien and Beserra specialized on E. oleifera. The average timing of activity was studied by using passive interception traps. Then the pattern and the duration were refined by using aspiration trapping within the active period for each insect species at the male and female inflorescences. All the experiments were conducted in an Ecuadorian oil palm plantation, located close to Amazonian forest. El. kamerunicus and G. hybridus were found to be the pollinators of E. guineensis and E. oleifera, respectively. The two species differed in their diel pattern of activity: E. kamerunicus was active in the morning and G. hybridus during a short period at dusk. For both palm species, insect visits were synchronous on both male and female inflorescences. The synchronicity is discussed as a strategy to maintain the relation mutualistic between partners. These findings increase our understanding of the oil palm pollination system. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : elaeidobius kamerunicus; elaeis guineensis; elaeis oleifera; pollinisateur; biologie animale; pollinisation; interactions biologiques; agroécosystème; Équateur; grasidius hybridus

Thématique : Physiologie végétale : reproduction; Ecologie animale

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