A case of behavioural diversification in male floral function – the evolution of thigmonastic pollen presentation

Tilo Henning* (Corresponding Author), Moritz Mittelbach, Sascha A. Ismail, Rafael H. Acuña-Castillo, Maximilian Weigend

*Corresponding author for this work

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Obvious movements of plant organs have fascinated scientists for a long time. They have been studied extensively, but few behavioural studies to date have dealt with them, and hardly anything is known about their evolution. Here, we present a large experimental dataset on the stamen movement patterns found in the Loasaceae subfam. Loasoideae (Cornales). An evolutionary transition from autonomous-only to a combination of autonomous and thigmonastic stamen movement with increased complexity was experimentally demonstrated. We compare the stamen movement patterns with extensive pollinator observations and discuss it in the context of male mating behavior. Thigmonastic pollen presentation via stamen movements appears to be a crucial component of floral adaptation to pollinator behaviour, evolving in concert with complex adjustments of flower signal, reward and morphology. We hypothesize that rapid adjustments of pollen presentation timing may play a significant role in the diversification of this plant group, representing a striking example for the evolutionary significance of plant behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14018
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2018


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