Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (12): 1364-1372.doi: 10.17520/biods.2016248

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Pollination ecotypes and herkogamy variation of Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae) with mirror-image flowers

Zhenna Qian1, 2, Qianwan Meng1, 2, Mingxun Ren1, 2, *()   

  1. 1 Hainan Key Laboratory for Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Bioresources, Hainan University, Haikou 570228
    2 Faculty of Tropical Agriculture and Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou 570228
  • Received:2016-09-05 Accepted:2016-10-28 Online:2017-01-10
  • Ren Mingxun

Herkogamy, the spatial separation of sexual organs within flowers, has long been thought to be a floral adaptation of reducing self pollination in hermaphrodites. Herkogamy of mirror-image flowers in the Asian endemic Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae) varies greatly between populations on Hainan Island (smaller than 4 mm) and Guizhou Province (larger than 10 mm). Such divergence in herkogamy could be adaptive to pollinator body size, which relates to pollen placement and stigma contact position. Recipient selection between local pollinators and plants may facilitate pollinator assembly in isolated populations, even forming pollination ecotypes. Pollinators were investigated in six geographic populations of H. benghalensis to study whether variations in herkogamy correspond to pollinator size. Molecular markers with nuclear ITS 1/4, chloroplast ycf1b and rbcL were also used to detect genetic differentiation between populations with large or small herkogamy. Our data showed small herkogamy in two populations from Hainan Island and one population from Xishuangbanna (southern Yunnan Province) as they were pollinated by small bees including Apis dorsata and Apis mellifera, with an abdomen width varying from 2 to 4 mm. Two populations from Guizhou Province and one population from Southeast Yunnan with larger herkogamy were pollinated by carpenter bees Xylocopa nasalis and bumble bees (Bombus sp.), with an obvious larger body size with a mean abdomen width of 11 mm. The style length (F = 12.5, P < 0.05) was also significantly different between large versus small herkogamous populations. Genetic data based on nuclear (ITS 1/4) and chloroplast (rbcL and ycf1) DNA also supported the differentiation between small and large herkogamous populations. These results indicated associations between flower and pollinator size, suggesting pollination ecotypes in H. benghalensis. This study indicated that the pollination ecotype in mirror-image flowers was associated with variations in herkogamy.

Key words: adaptive evolution, pollination efficiency, reproductive isolation, genetic distance, ycf1b, rbcL, ITS

Fig. 1

Mirror-image flowers and measurements of key floral traits in Hiptage benghalensis. R, Right-styled flower; L, Left-styled flower; HK, Herkogamy; SL, Style length; AS, Anther separation."

Table 1

Geographic locations and ratio of right- and left-styled flowers of Hiptage benghalensis populations"

Altitude (m)
Right/Left-styled flowers
χ 2 P
贵州 Guizhou GZ-LK 25°05′24″ N, 106°12′59″ E 466 1:1 (21/21) 0 1
GZ-ZX 24°58′29″ N, 106°08′09″ E 442 1:1 (18/18) 0 1
云南 Yunnan YN-YJ 23°20′17″ N, 102°11′52″ E 1,758 1:1.18 (11/13) 0.75 0.68
YN-BN 21°52′16″ N, 101°19′27″ E 570 1:1 (32/32) 0 1
海南 Hainan HN-BW 19°06′18″ N, 109°06′18″ E 223 1:1.50 (36/41) 1.2 0.27
HN-DL 18°43′19″ N, 109°52′24″ E 332 1:1.33 (28/39) 0.28 0.59

Table 2

DNA fragments and the primers used for genetic studies of Hiptage benghalensis populations"

DNA片段 引物序列 Sequence 片段大小 Fragment size 参考文献 Reference
651 bp White et al, 1990
715 bp Davis & Anderson, 2010
926 bp Dong et al, 2015

Fig. 2

Boxplot of variations in herkogamy (A), style length (B) and anther separation (C) of mirror-image flowers among Hiptage benghalensis populations"

Fig. 3

Pollinators in different geographic populations of Hiptage benghalensis. (A) and (B), Xylocopa nasalis visiting GZ-LK and GZ-ZX populations in Guizhou Province; (C) Bombus sp. visiting YN-YJ Population in Yunnan Province; (D) Pollen grains (red circles) on the thorax and abdomen of a carpenter bee; (E) Apis mellifera in YN-BN Population in Yunnan Province; (F) Apis dorsata in HN-BW Population on Hainan Island."

Fig. 4

Pollination ecotypes of Hiptage benghalensis. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree was drawn based on ITS1/4 and chloroplast (rbcLand ycf1b) DNA sequences. The histograms on the map refer to the mean values of herkogamy, and the unit of ordinate is millimeter (mm). ■ Herkogamy (righ-styled flower); □ Pollinator abdomen width; Herkogamy (left-styled flower)."

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