Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in the Bulletin of the Natural History Museum, Botany Series (November 28, 2002) 32(2): 125-136. Copyright 2002, Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.


The phenology and pollination of seven understory species of buzz-pollinated Solanaceae (Solanum erythrotrichum, S. lanceifolium, S. rudepannum, S. cordovense, S. nudum, Lycianthes hypoleuca and L. gorgonea) were investigated at the end of the dry season in the subtropical moist forest at the Las Cuevas Research Station, Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Cayo District, western Belize. Three phenological phenomena were tracked: the opening and closing of flowers, flower production and fruit production. The large short-lived white flowers of S. lanceifolium, S. rudepannum, Lycianthes hypoleuca and L. gorgonea opened around sunrise and closed at sunset. The purple flowers of S. erythrotrichum and the small white flowers of S. nudum and S. cordovense opened more or less randomly. All seven study species flowered at least once during the months of May, June and July; there was substantial overlap in the flowering of some species. Four species, S. rudepannum, S. cordovense, S. lanceifolium and S. erythrotrichum, developed mature fruit during the monitoring period while the remaining species possessed immature fruit at the termination of the study. Thus, it appeared that these seven solanaceous species would provide a fairly constant supply of mature fruit during the rainy season. During observations of pollinators, 17 different bees in the families Colletidae, Halictidae and Apidae were found to visit the buzz-pollinated flowers of Solanum and Lycianthes. Analysis of the pollen loads revealed that bees were highly constant to Solanaceae although it was not possible to determine their constancy to particular species. Very few visits were observed to S. cordovense and L. gorgonea.

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