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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0101-8175

Rev. Bras. Zool. vol.13 no.3 Curitiba  1996 

Pollination of Habenaria pleiophylla Hoehne & Schlechter (Orchidaceae) by Heliconius erato phyllis Fabricius (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae)



Gilson R.P. MoreiraI; Claudine A. CorreaI; Elna Mugrabi-OliveiraII

IDepartamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Avenida Paulo Gama 40, 90040-900 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
IIDepartamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná. Caixa Postal 19020, 81531-990 Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil




For the first time the pollination of a poorly known, terrestrial orchid, Habenaria pleiophylla Hoehne & Schlechter, 1921 (Orchidaceae) by a passion vine butterfly, Heliconius erato phyllis (Fabricius, 1775) (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) is reported. Number of pollinia-carrying individuals was determined on a population of H. erato phyllis in Horto Florestal Barba Negra, Barra do Ribeiro County, Rio Grande do Sul State. The pollination mechanism was described under laboratory conditions, in association with the butterfly feeding habit and the orchid flower morphology. Habenaria pleiophylla pollinia are cemented during nectar feeding on the ventral portion of the compound eyes near H. erato phyllis proboscis base. The pollinia are transferred to the stigma of other flowers during subsequent visits. Both males and females of H. eralo phyllis frequently visit H. pleiophylla flowers in the Barba Negra Forest. About forty percent of field collected adults had attached pollinia, ranging in number from one to 19 per individual. Thus, H. eralo phyllis may play an important role in the reproductive biology of this H. pleiophylla population.

Key words: Nymphalidae, Heliconius, Orchidaceae, Habenaria, pollination



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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We are especially grateful to RIOCELL for allowing to cany out the study at Horto Florestal Barba Negra, and to Ludwig Buckup (UFRGS) for the use of photoniicrographic equipment. Also, to Jorge Waechter (UFRGS) for identifying the orchid, and for helping on flower morphology interpretation. Part of the photographic printing was done by Armando J. Aguileia. Thanks are also due to Catherine Duckett (University of Puerto Rico), Nicoleta T.N. Sabetzki (EPAGRI), Jorge Waechter, Jorge E. de A. Mariath and Mauricio Schneider (UFRGS) for discussions and suggestions that improved earlier drafts of the manuscript.



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Recebido em 17.VI.1996; aceito em 22.XI.1996.

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