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Novel type of bird pollination mechanism discovered in South America
Date:7/10/2014

nctly from known bird pollination systems. While the majority of bird-pollinated flowers offer nectar as reward, Axinaea attracts the birds with its nutritious, sugar-rich food bodies. In the rare known cases involving food bodies in bird pollinated systems, these rewards are restricted to the sterile outer floral organs. Also, there is no other known case of bird-pollinated plants that involves anatomically distinct bellows-organ for pollen dispersal.

At the more general level of the evolutionary history of flowering plant pollination, this study on the pollination biology of Axinaea provides another example for an evolutionary pollinator shift from bees to birds that is accompanied by conspicuous changes in floral morphology. Such evolutionary shifts from bees to birds or other vertebrates are often correlated with growth at higher altitudes and apparently support an earlier hypothesis postulating that vertebrates may be more reliable and more efficient pollinators at higher elevations than bees.


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Contact: Jürg Schönenberger
juerg.schoenenberger@univie.ac.at
43-142-775-4080
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

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