Tropical Biology Section
Weiblen, George D , Zerega, Nyree J C .
Pollination in the New Guniea endemic Antiaropsis decipiens (Moraceae) is mediated by thrips.
Fig pollination is a well-known example of obligate mutualism involving specialized fig wasps (Hymenoptera, Agaonidae) and Ficus (Moraceae). However, pollination is poorly understood in Castilleae, the recently identified sister group to Ficus. Here we report the first record of thrips pollination in a member of the paleotropical Castilleae. Phenological measurements, insect trapping, and pollinator exclusion experiments investigated the mode of pollination in Antiaropsis decipiens, a monotypic dioecious tree of lowland rainforests in New Guinea. We recorded a new species, described as Thrips antiaropsis (Thysanoptera, Thripidae), feeding on Antiaropsis pollen, breeding in the staminate inflorescences, and pollinating the carpellate inflorescences. It appears that thrips are lured from staminate to carpellate inflorescences by deceit. We combine these observations with evidence from the neotropical Castilleae to suggest that thrips pollination is common if not ubiquitous in the sister group to figs. We speculate that entomophily in the common ancestor of Ficus and Castilleae may have preceded the origin of the fig pollination mutualism.
Evolutionary studies in Moraceae
1 - University of Minnesota, Plant Biological Sciences, 1445 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108
Presentation Type: Paper
Location: Peruvian (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2004
Time: 9:30 AM