Butterfly Pollination

Biol 324 Introduction To Seed Plant Taxonomy

Butterfly pollination syndrome: psychophily

- Flowers often pink, red, or orange, but variable,
- nectar guides often present
- radially symmetrical,
- pleasantly fragrant, long tubed (may be a produced by fusion of all or part of perianth)
- upright with a spreading limb or landing platform

Example Butterfly pollination
Lantana (Verbenaceae) with Papilio sp. – long, narrow floral tube, so narrow just fits
butterfly proboscis - keeps out illegitimate pollinators
However, thrips can get in! Rob nectar!
Example 2: Butterfly pollination of Asteraceae, butterfly on Coreopsis
- note the inflection point on proboscis (proboscis bends) – allows proboscis to probe vertically

Evolution of mechanism
- Butterflies cannot normally hover so flower must have a place for them to land – leads to evolution of tight head
of flowers or lips on petals
- They can see red, and have long tongues, and feed during daylight. Leads to evolution of brightly coloured flowers with long narrow tubes.

Strong selective pressure leads to strong convergent evolution
- Examples: convergent evolution for butterfly pollination in Lantana (Verbenaceae) and
Warszewiczia (Rubiaceae)

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