Abstract Detail


Sánchez-Collazo, Xiumy Michelle [1], Figueroa-Castro, Dulce [2], Gutiérrez-Blando, Cirene [3], López-Tellez, María Concepción [4].

Relationships between the bat Choeronycteris mexicana and cacti: what can morphology tell us about specialization in pollination systems?.

In plant-pollinator interactions, both plants and animals have developed morphological characteristics that allow them to obtain more benefits. For example, plants have developed morphological, visual (color and shape), and olfactory (scent) floral characteristics attractive to animals that might carry out a successful pollination. Likewise, animals exhibit morphological specializations to efficiently obtain floral rewards from the species with which they interact. Thus, plant-animal pollination systems are an excellent model to explore the degree of specialization between the interacting species through their morphological correspondence. Most studies on this subject have been conducted in pollination systems with insects and hummingbirds. Contrastingly, studies on the morphological correspondence between plants and bats are scarce. Moreover, these studies have been carried out with a single or a few plant species and they do not analyze the morphological correspondence of the plant community visited by the same nectar-feeding bat. The objective of this study was to establish the morphological correspondence and the degree of specialization of the bat Choeronycteris mexicana and seven chiropterophilic species of columnar cacti at an arid region in Central Mexico.. Two different morphometric analyses were performed, traditional (i.e., comparing linear measurements) and geometric (i.e., comparing shapes). For the traditional morphometric analysis, between 12 and 24 flowers of each cactus species were collected. 15 floral traits were estimated from each flower. Similarly, 27 cranial traits were obtained from each of 30 skulls of C. mexicana individuals collected in central Mexico. Correlation analyses between flower- and skull-traits were conducted. For the geometric morphometric analysis, the internal shape of the floral tube and the shape of the skulls were used. To determine if the existence of complementarity between floral and cranial shape, partial least squares analyses were performed between each cactus species and the bat. The traditional morphometric analysis showed 40 significant correlations (21 positive and eight negative, all moderately intense; and 11 strongly intense, all positive) between floral traits of the seven cacti species and the skull of C. mexicana. The highest number of significant correlations (12) was found with Pachycereus hollianus; whereas the lowest (1) was with Pilosocereus chrysacanthus. Most significant correlations were between the diameters, circumferences and areas of both, flowers and skulls. These variables are associated with the adjustment between the bat’s face and the corolla tube on frontal view, just as the bat approaches the flower. Results of the geometric morphometric analysis showed a lack of correspondence between the floral shape of all plant species and the cranial shape of C. mexicana. Altogether, these results suggest that C. mexicana maintains a generalist relationship with six out of the seven species of columnar cacti; and a more specialized one with P. hollianus. Moreover, the lack of a significant correspondence between floral- and cranial-shape suggests that size and not shape is an important variable in bat-plant interactions, at least within this vegetal community in Central Mexico.

1 - Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Blvd. Valsequillo Y Av. San Claudio, Edif. 112A, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Jardines De San Manuel, Puebla, Puebla, 72570, Mexico
2 - Escuela De Biología, Blvd. Valsequillo Y Av. San Claudio, Edif. 112A, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Jardines De San Manuel, Puebla, 72570, Mexico
3 - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Investigación Científica, C.U., Alcaldia Coyoacán, Ciudad de Mexico, CDMX, 04510, Mexico
4 - Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Blvd. Valsequillo y Av. San Claudio, Ed. BIO 1 CU, Col. Jardines de San Manuel, Puebla, Puebla, 72570, Mexico

Central Mexico
generalist pollinator
morphometric analyses
morphological correspondence
specialist pollinator.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EC11007
Abstract ID:163
Candidate for Awards:None

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