, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 747–758 | Cite as

High visitation rate of oil bees may increase pollination efficiency of Couepia uiti in Pantanal wetland

  • Samuel BoffEmail author
  • Gladys F. A. Melo-de-Pinna
  • Arnildo Pott
  • Andréa Cardoso Araujo
Original article


Pollen transfer to the stigma is the primary mechanism of sexual reproduction in plants. Among bee species that act as pollen vectors and pollinators, attributes such as floral visitation rate, synchrony with the receptive phase of the flower, compatibility between flower shape and foraging behavior, and morphological traits are often used to infer pollination efficiency. Herein, we evaluate visitation frequency and behavior of bee species on Couepia uiti (Chrysobalanaceae) flowers in the southern Pantanal, Brazil. Additionally, after experimental manipulation of flower visitation and by accompanying pollen tube growth in the pistil after one single visit to the flowers, we were able to pinpoint the roles of Centris spilopoda and Apis mellifera on the pollination of C. uiti. Centris spilopoda was the most important pollinator of C. uiti in the study area. In fact, we found that this oil bee might enhance plant reproductive success by almost 40% after a single visit. In addition to its high abundance, the efficiency of C. spilopoda as pollinator may be explained by its tight synchrony with pollen liberation and stigmatic receptivity of flowers of C. uiti.


bee activity and stigmatic receptivity floodplain Centridini pollen tube single visit 



The authors acknowledge Dr. Sebastião Laroca for bee identification, Amanda Galdi Boaretto, Morgana Sazan, and Waldemar Guimarães for help in the field, and the staff of the research station Base de Estudos do Pantanal (UFMS), in particular to Geraldo (in memoriam) and anonymous referees.

Author Contributions

SB and ACA conceived the study and designed experiment; SB performed experiments and analysis; SB and GMP analyzed pollen tube; SB, AP, and ACA led the writing of the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13592_2018_598_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (81 kb)
Figure S1. Pollen grains, pistil, and pollen tube growth after a single visit of the oil bee Centris spilopoda to flowers of Couepia uiti, in the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. [A] Pollen grains of C. uiti (40x). [B] Region of the stigma and style (pistil) without pollen grains or pollen tube growth. [C] Pollen tube (10x) in the middle part of the style, 48h after pollination. [D] Pollen tube (10x) developed 24h after pollination, details of the callose formed along the tube growth. [E] Pollen tube (10x) in the center of the photo (see presence of callose) close to the ovary, note the presence of trichomes at the base of pistil. (JPG 80 kb)
13592_2018_598_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia VegetalUniversidade Federal de Mato Grosso do SulCampo GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em BotânicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratório de Ecologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Federal de Mato Grosso do SulCampo GrandeBrazil

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