Authors: SanMartin-Gajardo, I.; Sazima, M.
Publication: Plant Biology
Year: 2004
Genera: Sinningia

Pollination by male and female Euglossini bees, euglossophily, was suggested for a number of neotropical Gesneriaceae species. Information on bee species other than Euglossini as pollinators of neotropical members of this family is limited, and in the tribe Sinningieae data about bee pollination are still lacking. Here, we report on floral biology and bee pollination of four Sinningia species: S. schiffneri, S. eumorpha, S. villosa, and Sinningia “canastrensis”. The flower features, such as corolla size, shape, and colour, are very different among the four species, but all conform to the melittophilous syndrome. The average nectar volume and sugar amount is low in S. schiffneri, S. eumorpha, and Sinningia “canastrensis”, when compared to that of S. villosa, but low nectar amounts is a general feature of Sinningia species. The main pollinators of the four species are: small Tapinotaspidini (Trigonopedia ferruginea) of S. schiffneri, large Bombini (Bombus morio) and large Centridini (Epicharis morio) of S. eumorpha, large Euglossini (Eulaema cingulata and Eufriesea surinamensis) of S. villosa, and large Euglossini (Eufriesea violascens) and Megachilini (Megachile sp.) of Sinningia “canastrensis”. Out of the four species, only S. villosa is exclusively Euglossini-pollinated. The marked differences in flower features and nectar production of these Sinningia species may reflect their pollination by distinct groups of bees. These results strengthen the idea of multiple origins for the pollination systems involving bees within this genus, which is highly supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses.