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Visual and olfactory floral cues of Campanula (Campanulaceae) and their significance for host recognition by an oligolectic bee pollinator
AuthorMilet-Pinheiro, Paulo ; Ayasse, Manfred ; Dötterl, Stefan
Published in
PLoS ONE, Lawrence, Kan. : Public Library of Science, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 6: e0128577, page 1-20
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)Flowers / Bees / Pollen / Flowering plants / Plants / Insect flight / Flight (biology) / Inflorescences
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-4044 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Visual and olfactory floral cues of Campanula (Campanulaceae) and their significance for host recognition by an oligolectic bee pollinator [0.76 mb]
Abstract (English)

Oligolectic bees collect pollen from a few plants within a genus or family to rear their offspring, and are known to rely on visual and olfactory floral cues to recognize host plants. However, studies investigating whether oligolectic bees recognize distinct host plants by using shared floral cues are scarce. In the present study, we investigated in a comparative approach the visual and olfactory floral cues of six Campanula species, of which only Campanula lactiflora has never been reported as a pollen source of the oligolectic bee Ch. rapunculi. We hypothesized that the flowers of Campanula species visited by Ch. rapunculi share visual (i.e. color) and/or olfactory cues (scents) that give them a host-specific signature. To test this hypothesis, floral color and scent were studied by spectrophotometric and chemical analyses, respectively. Additionally, we performed bioassays within a flight cage to test the innate color preference of Ch. rapunculi. Our results show that Campanula flowers reflect the light predominantly in the UV-blue/blue bee-color space and that Ch. rapunculi displays a strong innate preference for these two colors. Furthermore, we recorded spiroacetals in the floral scent of all Campanula species, but Ca. lactiflora. Spiroacetals, rarely found as floral scent constituents but quite common among Campanula species, were recently shown to play a key function for host-flower recognition by Ch. rapunculi. We conclude that Campanula species share some visual and olfactory floral cues, and that neurological adaptations (i.e. vision and olfaction) of Ch. rapunculi innately drive their foraging flights toward host flowers. The significance of our findings for the evolution of pollen diet breadth in bees is discussed.

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