Plant-Pollinator Interactions in Lantana camara

Krishnan, Aparna (2018) Plant-Pollinator Interactions in Lantana camara. UG thesis, Azim Premji University.

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Lantana camara, an invasive plant in India, has brightly coloured inflorescences whose flowers undergo dramatic colour changes during its lifetime. This colour change acts as an honest signal for pollinators, where flower colour reliably advertises the quantity and quality of nectar and pollen. In this study, we characterised how nectar quality changes as the colour of Lantana flowers change and examined how insects respond to this. We found that before colour change (henceforth pre-change), flowers had more sucrose concentration than after-colour change (henceforth post-change), thereby advertising the nectar quality through colour. Insects from 18 species visited, and foraged for a longer time on pre-change than post-change flowers, suggesting that they benefit from the nectar-colour association in Lantana flowers. While insects benefit from this signal, not all could use it efficiently. We examined how biomechanical parameters, specifically the proboscis length, of butterfly nectar feeders influenced foraging. We found a negative relationship between the proboscis length and the time spent per Lantana flower, indicating that butterflies with smaller proboscises were relatively less efficient in foraging from Lantana flowers than butterflies with longer proboscises. With the widespread increase of Lantana cover in Indian forests, this study suggests that butterflies which cannot feed effectively from Lantana could be negatively affected in the long run.

Item Type: Thesis (UG)
Authors: Krishnan, Aparna
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lantanas, Lantana camara, Lantana flowers
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Plants (Botany)
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Arts and Sciences
Full Text Status: Restricted
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