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FREIRE, Rodrigo M.; BARBERIS, Ignacio M.  and  VESPRINI, José L.. Reproductive traits and floral visitors of Aechmea distichantha plants growing in different habitats of a South American xerophytic forest. Rodriguésia [online]. 2018, vol.69, n.2, pp.385-396. ISSN 0370-6583.

Aechmea distichantha, a widely-distributed facultative epiphytic bromeliad species, is present from rainforests to xerophytic forests. At its southernmost distribution (Humid Chaco) it grows in the understory and forest edges. This animal-pollinated bromeliad shows high phenotypic plasticity on its vegetative traits, but there is no information about plasticity on its reproductive traits. Infructescences from shade plants were heavier, had longer rachis, more spikelets, higher number of fruits/spikelet and higher number of seeds/fruit than those from sun plants, but they presented similar number of open flowers. The number of visitation events was similar in both habitats, but more flowers were visited in the sun than in the shade. Flowers were visited by seven species (six insects and one hummingbird). In the sun, the carpenter bee was the most frequent visitor and visited almost all flowers, whereas in the shade different species of visitors attained similar proportion of visits and number of visited flowers. Despite visitation events were similar in both habitats, plants growing in the shade set more seeds/fruit than plants growing in the sun. The higher proportion of visits accomplished by carpenter bees compared to hummingbirds is probably a consequence of the climatic conditions in the austral location of these populations.

Keywords : Aechmea distichantha; habitat; pollinators; reproductive characters.

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