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Bird visitation to a high Andean Anthurium (Araceae) in Eastern Ecuador

Bleiweiss, Robert, Sornoza Molina, Francisco, Freire, Efraín, Croat, Thomas B.
Flora 2019 v.255 pp. 80-85
Anthurium, Coleoptera, Diptera, Passeriformes, arthropods, bees, diel activity, foraging, hummingbirds, nutritive value, pollen, pollination, secretion, topographic slope, tropical montane cloud forests, Andes region, Ecuador
The limited information available on aroid reproductive systems suggests that most species are visited and pollinated by arthropods, especially bees, beetles, and flies. However, hummingbirds and passerine birds have been reported to visit some Colombian Anthurium that retain many typical aroid traits. Observations in upper montane cloud forests (2700 m) on the eastern slope of the Andes in northern Ecuador revealed a third Anthurium species visited by birds. Male-phase inflorescence features that seemed to favor bird visitation included a robust and all red inflorescence, and copious fluid secretions that appeared to have nutritive value. Over a weeklong period, at least four species of hummingbird and one passerine bird, a flowerpiercer, were observed to pick up pollen when they fed on the fluid secretions during repeated visits to a male-phase inflorescence. The bird-plant interaction depended on species-specific foraging methods, rank in the local dominance hierarchy, and diel activity patterns. In addition, several arthropod taxa were documented as Anthurium visitors for the first time. We consider the potential for a bird or a mixed pollination system of this Anthurium.