Diurnal and nocturnal pollination in a nursery-pollinated species

Female flower of the white campion Silene latifolia (Image credit: Giovanni Scopece).

Nursery pollination is an unusual plant–insect interaction in which an insect is both pollinator and seed-predator. Depending on the abundance of the nursery pollinator and of other pollinators this interaction can range from mutualism to parasitism and it is thus likely to vary geographically. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Scopece et al. investigated this mechanism in the widespread species Silene latifolia in a Mediterranean environment that is likely to offer a rich pollinator community to the plant, thus decreasing the dependence on the nursery pollinator. Surprisingly, they found that although generalist pollinators contribute significantly to plant fitness, the nursery pollinator is still the most efficient.

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