Reproductive ecology of Opuntia macrocentra (Cactaceae) in the Northern Chihuahuan desert

Maria C. Mandujano, Jordan Golubov, Laura F Huenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the floral biology, floral visitors, levels of florivory, and mating system of Opuntia macrocentra in a population of ca. 300 individuals in order to describe what factors affect flower/fruit ratios. Blooming for the species occurred once a year during spring. Flowers were hermaphroditic, produced nectar, and remained open 6 to 9 h during a single day. Anther dehiscence starts at flower aperture and stigma receptivity starts approximately 1 h later. The most important floral visitors were solitary bees from the Anthophoridae family (genus Diadasia). Open- pollinated control and cross pollination treatments had the highest fruit set (96.8 ± 3.2% and 83.9 ± 6.7%, respectively), but fruit set for forced self-pollination treatment (77.4 ± 7.6%) did not differ from the cross-pollination treatment. Seed production was also highest in the open-pollinated treatment; the average number of seeds per fruit in the open-pollinated treatment was 40% higher than the cross-pollinated treatment and 64% higher than the self-pollinated treatment. The flowers were self-compatible and did not require a visitor to set fruit. Flower/fruit ratio was slightly above one over all pollination treatments (fruit ratios between 1.0-1.3), suggesting that almost all flowers turned into fruits. Outcrossing rates suggest a mixed mating system, but inbreeding depression was found for both fruit and seed set. Developing fruits were consumed by the caterpillar (Lepidoptera: Olycella subumbrella) and decreased fruit set from 20% to 100%. Florivory and inbreeding depression were the major factors that decrease fruit set for this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-285
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Volume169
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

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Chihuahuan Desert
Cactaceae
Opuntia
fruit set
flower
fruit
desert
ecology
flowers
fruits
pollination
inbreeding depression
cross pollination
mating systems
reproductive strategy
Diadasia
Anthophoridae
solitary bees
seed set
outcrossing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Reproductive ecology of Opuntia macrocentra (Cactaceae) in the Northern Chihuahuan desert. / Mandujano, Maria C.; Golubov, Jordan; Huenneke, Laura F.

In: American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 169, No. 2, 04.2013, p. 274-285.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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