Visitor assemblages at flowers in a tropical rainforest canopy
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Canopy crane-based studies have been carried out to quantify the sets of arthropods that visit the flowers of a suite of common species of trees, palms and vines within the Cape Tribulation study area. Those Orders that increase significantly in abundance between the budding and flowering stages of inflorescences are identified, and multivariate and univariate comparisons have been made first, among coflowering plant species and second, at different seasons for the same plant species. The analysis has been repeated for both the profile of higher arthropod taxa in the samples and for the relative abundances of families of Coleoptera: one of the Orders most frequently suggested as critical in the pollination biology of Australian rainforests. In all cases significant differences are identified among species confirming that the visitor profile is a plant species-specific phenomenon. Profiles within plant species at different times also differed. At the ordinal level significant differences in visitor profiles associated with coflowering plants, were observed, variously, in Thysanoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera. Within the Coleoptera significant differences occurred in relative abundances of Scarabaeidae, Phalacridae, Latridiidae and Curculionidae. Seasonal differences in visitation to Syzygium gustavioides, Normanbya normanbyi and Calamus radicalis, reflected differences in Diptera, Lepidoptera, Homoptera, Thysanoptera, Hymenoptera and Araneida. Within the Coleoptera, the Elateridae and Curculionidae varied significantly between occasions. The various forms of flower/arthropod interaction that may be represented in these results are discussed, as are the implications for pollination.
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY