Pollination of the understorey palm Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana by hovering and perching bats

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Inflorescences of the Central American understorey palm Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana offer bats fruit-like flower tissue as reward for visitation. Bats visited the inflorescences in two different modes: frugivores (Phyllostomidae: Stenodermatinae, Carolliinae) foraged on the inflorescence while perched, whereas bats that were primarily nectarivores (Phyllostomidae: Glossophaginae) also consumed flower tissue, but did so while hovering. Fruit set was significantly lower in inflorescences that had received only hovering visits, indicating that perching behaviour offers better possibilities for pollen transfer. The pollination system of C. ghiesbreghtiana is probably adapted to perching frugivorous bats with nectar-specialist Glossophagines as non-optimal participants. Seen in an evolutionary perspective the C. ghiesbreghtiana–glossophagine bat interactions may demonstrate recruitment of new pollinators from non-destructive visitors. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 80, 281–288.
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