Little interspecific pollen transfer despite overlap in pollinators between sympatric Aeonium (Crassulaceae) species pairs

Korinna Esfeld, Marcus A. Koch, Timotheüs van der Niet, Merav Seifan, Mike Thiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


It is still unknown what exact role interspecific gene flow and reticulate patterns of gene transfer may play in adaptive radiations. To contribute to a better understanding of gene flow in a morphologically diverse and species-rich lineage, we investigated pollen transfer in the adaptively radiated Macaronesian Crassulaceae-Sempervivoideae. We aimed at comparing pollinator spectra and pollen transfer rates among sympatric species of Aeonium. Field studies were conducted on Tenerife (Canary Islands) including pollinator observations and estimations of pollen transfer using fluorescent dye powder as pollen analogue. Our results indicate an overlap in visiting insects among four sympatric species pairs of Aeonium. However, our dye experiments indicate that on an average about 95% of the detected pollen transfer was infraspecific. Only a small proportion of interspecific pollen transfer could be recorded. We explain these outcomes by specific pollinator behaviour such as floral preference and constancy during a foraging bout. This may be linked to different reward regimes of the studied Aeonium species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
JournalFlora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants
Issue number10
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Floral visitors
  • Fluorescent dye
  • Infraspecific pollen transfer
  • Reproductive isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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