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Mechanical damage to pollen aids nutrient acquisition in Heliconius butterflies (Nymphalidae).

Abstract

Neotropical Heliconius and Laparus butterflies actively collect pollen onto the proboscis and extract nutrients from it. This study investigates the impact of the processing behaviour on the condition of the pollen grains. Pollen samples (n = 72) were collected from proboscides of various Heliconius species and Laparus doris in surrounding habitats of the Tropical Research Station La Gamba (Costa Rica). Examination using a light microscope revealed that pollen loads contained 74.88 ± 53.67% of damaged Psychotria pollen, 72.04 ± 23.4% of damaged Psiguria/Gurania pollen, and 21.35 ± 14.5% of damaged Lantana pollen (numbers represent median ± first quartile). Damaged pollen grains showed deformed contours, inhomogeneous and/or leaking contents, or they were empty. Experiments with Heliconius and Laparus doris from a natural population in Costa Rica demonstrated that 200 min of pollen processing behaviour significantly increased the percentage of damaged pollen of Psychotria compared to pollen from anthers (P = 0.015, Z = -2.44, Mann-Whitney U-test). Examination of pollen loads from green house reared Heliconius butterflies resulted in significantly greater amounts of damaged Psiguria pollen after 200 min of processing behaviour compared to pollen from flowers (P < 0.001, Z = -4.583, Mann-Whitney U-test). These results indicate that pollen processing functions as extra oral digestion whereby pollen grains are ruptured to make the content available for ingestion.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

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    Department of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

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    Department of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

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    Department of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

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    Department of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

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    Department of Palynology and Structural Botany, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria.

    Brackenridge Field Laboratory and Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

    Source

    Arthropod-plant interactions 3:4 2009 Dec 01 pg 203-208

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    24900162

    Citation

    * When formatting your citation, note that all book, journal, and database titles should be italicized* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Mechanical damage to pollen aids nutrient acquisition in Heliconius butterflies (Nymphalidae). AU - Krenn,Harald W, AU - Eberhard,Monika J B, AU - Eberhard,Stefan H, AU - Hikl,Anna-Laetitia, AU - Huber,Werner, AU - Gilbert,Lawrence E, PY - 2014/6/6/entrez PY - 2009/12/1/pubmed PY - 2009/12/1/medline KW - Butterfly KW - Extra oral digestion KW - Heliconius KW - Lepidoptera KW - Pollen feeding SP - 203 EP - 208 JF - Arthropod-plant interactions JO - Arthropod Plant Interact VL - 3 IS - 4 N2 - Neotropical Heliconius and Laparus butterflies actively collect pollen onto the proboscis and extract nutrients from it. This study investigates the impact of the processing behaviour on the condition of the pollen grains. Pollen samples (n = 72) were collected from proboscides of various Heliconius species and Laparus doris in surrounding habitats of the Tropical Research Station La Gamba (Costa Rica). Examination using a light microscope revealed that pollen loads contained 74.88 ± 53.67% of damaged Psychotria pollen, 72.04 ± 23.4% of damaged Psiguria/Gurania pollen, and 21.35 ± 14.5% of damaged Lantana pollen (numbers represent median ± first quartile). Damaged pollen grains showed deformed contours, inhomogeneous and/or leaking contents, or they were empty. Experiments with Heliconius and Laparus doris from a natural population in Costa Rica demonstrated that 200 min of pollen processing behaviour significantly increased the percentage of damaged pollen of Psychotria compared to pollen from anthers (P = 0.015, Z = -2.44, Mann-Whitney U-test). Examination of pollen loads from green house reared Heliconius butterflies resulted in significantly greater amounts of damaged Psiguria pollen after 200 min of processing behaviour compared to pollen from flowers (P < 0.001, Z = -4.583, Mann-Whitney U-test). These results indicate that pollen processing functions as extra oral digestion whereby pollen grains are ruptured to make the content available for ingestion. SN - 1872-8855 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24900162/Mechanical_damage_to_pollen_aids_nutrient_acquisition_in_Heliconius_butterflies_(Nymphalidae) L2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/24900162/ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -