Transmission of bee-like vibrations in buzz-pollinated plants with different stamen architectures


Nevard L, Russell AL, Foord K & Vallejo-Marín M (2021) Transmission of bee-like vibrations in buzz-pollinated plants with different stamen architectures. Scientific Reports, 11 (1), Art. No.: 13541.

In buzz-pollinated plants, bees apply thoracic vibrations to the flower, causing pollen release from anthers, often through apical pores. Bees grasp one or more anthers with their mandibles, and vibrations are transmitted to this focal anther(s), adjacent anthers, and the whole flower. Pollen release depends on anther vibration, and thus it should be affected by vibration transmission through flowers with distinct morphologies, as found among buzz-pollinated taxa. We compare vibration transmission between focal and non-focal anthers in four species with contrasting stamen architectures: Cyclamen persicum, Exacum affine, Solanum dulcamara and S. houstonii. We used a mechanical transducer to apply bee-like vibrations to focal anthers, measuring the vibration frequency and displacement amplitude at focal and non-focal anther tips simultaneously using high-speed video analysis (6000 frames per second). In flowers in which anthers are tightly arranged (C. persicum and S. dulcamara), vibrations in focal and non-focal anthers are indistinguishable in both frequency and displacement amplitude. In contrast, flowers with loosely arranged anthers (E. affine) including those with differentiated stamens (heterantherous S. houstonii), show the same frequency but higher displacement amplitude in non-focal anthers compared to focal anthers. We suggest that stamen architecture modulates vibration transmission, potentially affecting pollen release and bee behaviour.

Biomechanics; Plant physiology; Pollination

Scientific Reports: Volume 11, Issue 1

FundersNatural Environment Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust and Dietrich School of Arts and Science
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online29/06/2021
Date accepted by journal16/06/2021
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC