A case of behavioural diversification in male floral function – the evolution of thigmonastic pollen presentation

Tilo Henning* (Corresponding Author), Moritz Mittelbach, Sascha A. Ismail, Rafael H. Acuña-Castillo, Maximilian Weigend

*Corresponding author for this work

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Obvious movements of plant organs have fascinated scientists for a long time. They have been studied extensively, but few behavioural studies to date have dealt with them, and hardly anything is known about their evolution. Here, we present a large experimental dataset on the stamen movement patterns found in the Loasaceae subfam. Loasoideae (Cornales). An evolutionary transition from autonomous-only to a combination of autonomous and thigmonastic stamen movement with increased complexity was experimentally demonstrated. We compare the stamen movement patterns with extensive pollinator observations and discuss it in the context of male mating behavior. Thigmonastic pollen presentation via stamen movements appears to be a crucial component of floral adaptation to pollinator behaviour, evolving in concert with complex adjustments of flower signal, reward and morphology. We hypothesize that rapid adjustments of pollen presentation timing may play a significant role in the diversification of this plant group, representing a striking example for the evolutionary significance of plant behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14018
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding provided by an Else-Neumann-Stipendium (http://www.fu-berlin.de/sites/promovieren/drs/nachwuchs/nachwuchs/nafoeg.html), Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) and botconsult GmbH at different stages of data acquisition. We thank Tobias Grass, Joana Bergmann and Franziska Weber (Freie Universität Berlin) for help with data collection in the field and in the greenhouse. Nicole Schmandt, Federico Luebert, Juliana Chacón and Dietmar Quant (Universität Bonn) provided help in the molecular laboratory and the edition of the molecular dataset. We furthermore thank Markus Ackermann (Koblenz) for providing photographs, Philipp Klein (Berlin) for editing the video and Katy Jones (Berlin) for helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Rafael Acuña has been supported by the ALECOSTA scholarship program. Coverage of the article processing charge by the German Research Foundation via the Open Access Publication Fund of the Freie Universität Berlin is gratefully acknowledged.


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