Nocturnal and diurnal pollination in Copaifera coriacea, a dominant species in sand dunes of the Middle São Francisco River Basin, Northeastern Brazil
cover image of Plant Ecology and Evolution 154(2)


floral biology
floral visitors
generalist pollination
pollen tubes

How to Cite

Souza, I., Hughes, F., Funch, L. and Queiroz, L. (2021) “Nocturnal and diurnal pollination in Copaifera coriacea, a dominant species in sand dunes of the Middle São Francisco River Basin, Northeastern Brazil”, Plant Ecology and Evolution, 154(2), pp. 207-216. doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2021.1715.


Background and aimsCopaifera coriacea, a species in the resin-producing clade Detarioideae (Leguminosae), is an endemic and abundant species found in sand dunes in Brazilian Caatinga domain vegetation – a Quaternary paleodesert. We investigated floral traits and aspects of pollination biology, focusing on the pollination system of C. coriacea.
Material and methods – Anthesis duration, stigma receptivity, pollen viability, nectar concentration, and the presence of osmophores and pigments reflecting UV light were assessed. Floral visitors were classified as potential pollinators, occasional pollinators or thieves, based on the time and foraging behaviour and resource collected. Pollination effectiveness were assessed for potential pollinators by the detection of pollen tubes on the stigma or stylar canal by epifluorescence microscopy.
Key results – The species has white and small flowers, with anthesis beginning in the dark (ca 00:30) and the flowers are completely opened approximately 3 h later, when a sweet odour is perceptible. The onset of stigma receptivity and pollen grain viability occurs only after the completion of flower opening, and a concentrated nectar is available during the day. The presence of pollen tubes confirmed the efficiency of the main insects in the transfer of pollen.
Conclusion – Our result demonstrates that C. coriacea has a generalist pollination system mediated mainly by two distinct guilds of insect pollinators: moths (nocturnal, searching for nectar) and bees (diurnal, pollen collectors). This finding can provide more information about diversification in the genus Copaifera.


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