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Pollinator rarity as a threat to a plant with a specialized pollination system

Phillips, Ryan D., Peakall, Rod, Retter, Bryony A., Montgomery, Kirke, Menz, Myles H.M., Davis, Belinda J., Hayes, Christine, Brown, Graham R., Swarts, Nigel D. and Dixon, Kingsley W. (2015). Pollinator rarity as a threat to a plant with a specialized pollination system. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society,179(3):511-525.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Altmetric Score Altmetric Score is 24
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IRMA ID 81144320xPUB92
Title Pollinator rarity as a threat to a plant with a specialized pollination system
Author Phillips, Ryan D.
Peakall, Rod
Retter, Bryony A.
Montgomery, Kirke
Menz, Myles H.M.
Davis, Belinda J.
Hayes, Christine
Brown, Graham R.
Swarts, Nigel D.
Dixon, Kingsley W.
Journal Name Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 179
Issue Number 3
ISSN 0024-4074   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84944160302
Start Page 511
End Page 525
Total Pages 15
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract An increasing diversity of highly specialized pollination systems are being discovered, many of which are likely to be vulnerable to anthropogenic landscape modification. Here, we investigate if a specialized pollination system limits the persistence of Caladenia huegelii (Orchidaceae), an endangered species pollinated by sexual deception of thynnine wasps. Once locally common in part of its geographical range, C. huegelii is now largely restricted to small habitat remnants in urban areas. Pollinator surveys coupled with DNA barcoding detected a single pollinator taxon, a small form of Macrothynnus insignis. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that small M. insignis from within the range of C. huegelii are strongly divergent from other wasp populations, suggesting that some reproductive isolation may exist. Although common in intact landscapes outside the range of C. huegelli, small M. insignis individuals were recorded at only 4% of sites in suitable C. huegelii habitat. Accordingly, reproductive success in C. huegelii was low compared with related Caladenia spp., with 33–60% of populations failing to set fruit in any given year. As such, populations are likely to now persist primarily through individual plant longevity rather than reproduction. Due to the low reproductive success of C. huegelii, ongoing human intervention will almost certainly be needed to sustain the species. Future research will need to focus on optimizing hand pollination to maintain reproduction and high seed fitness.
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