Water lilies and scarabs: faithful partners for 100 million years?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:F. Ervik, Knudsen J. T.
Journal:Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Date Published:May
Keywords:Cyclocephala, floral scent, GC-MS, headspace, Nymphaea, pollination, Senegal, thermogenesis,

Night-flowering water lilies (Nymphaeaceae) in South America are pollinated by Cyclocephala scarab beetles (Scar- abaeidae: Cyclocephalini) in a specialized relationship involving synchronized flowering movements, strong floral scent, food tissues, and heat-producing flowers. We report that a similar and closely related association exists in West Africa between Nymphaea lotus L. and Ruteloryctes morio Fabricius (Cyclocephalini). This finding strongly supports a late Early Cretaceous origin of a symbiosis between the night-flowering water lilies and pollinating Cyclocephalini beetles. We believe that this is the first unambiguous evidence of a plant-pollinator relationship of this age.

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