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Contribution of Diurnal and Nocturnal Insects to the Pollination of Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae) in Southwestern China

Chang W. Luo, Zachary Y. Huang, Xiao M. Chen, Kun Li, You Chen, Yong Y. Sun
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC10265 149-154 First published online: 1 February 2011


Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) is being increasingly planted worldwide, but questions remain regarding its pollination biology. This study examined the contribution of diurnal and nocturnal insects to the pollination of monoecious J. curcas, through its floral biology, pollination ecology, and foraging behavior of potential pollinators. Nectar production of both male and female flowers peaked in the morning, declined in the afternoon, and rapidly bottomed during the night in all of their anthesis days. The diurnal visitors to the flowers of J. curcas are bees and flies, and the nocturnal visitors are moths. Flowers received significantly more visits by diurnal insects than by nocturnal insects. Through bagging flowers during night or day or both or exclusion, we compared fruit and seed production caused by diurnal and nocturnal pollinators. Both nocturnal and diurnal visitors were successful pollinators. However, flowers exposed only to nocturnal visitors produced less fruits than those exposed only to diurnal visitors. Thus, diurnal pollinators contribute more to seed production by J. curcas at the study site.

  • Jatropha curcas
  • diurnal pollination
  • nocturnal pollination
  • female reproductive success
  • nectar production

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