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Journal of Entomology
  Year: 2012 | Volume: 9 | Issue: 4 | Page No.: 187-207
DOI: 10.3923/je.2012.187.207
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Psychophilous Mode of Pollination Predominates in Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina)

Nidhi Wadhwa and Ram C. Sihag

Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina (Linn.) Benth., ex Kurz.) is an important medicinal plant. Flowers of this plant are protogynous and need cross-pollination for seed set. The characterization of its pollinators and pollination mode is, therefore, important. Entire ranges of flower visitors of sarpagandha were captured with hand net from its field and were identified. These visitors were characterized as pollinators and non-pollinators based on their mode of working on the flowers. Their relative abundances, foraging rates activity durations, number of pollen grains carried on the body, effect of multiple visits were used to determine their pollinating efficiencies. At Hisar (Haryana, India), nineteen insect species were found to visit the flower of sarpagandha. The insects visiting the flowers of sarpagandha showed two types of foraging modes. On the basis of these modes, the flower visitors were characterized as pollinators and non-pollinators. Some foragers of A. dorsata and A. mellifera were base-foragers (nectar thieves/non-pollinators). However, all the lepidopterous species and some of the hymenopterous species were exclusively front-foragers (pollinators). Most abundant were two species of butterflies viz. Papilio demoleus and Pieris brassicae and three species of bees viz. Mellisodes sp., Xylocopa fenestrata and Megachile sp. The peak activity of all the insect visitors was observed at 1300 h. Maximum duration of activity in the field was shown by Papilio demoleus. All the visitors carried excessively higher number of pollen grains on their bodies than required by the flower for fruit set. Incremental visits also did not have significant increase on the fruit set. Therefore, on the basis of population abundance, foraging mode, foraging rate and activity duration, pollinating efficiency of the visitors was determined, where in Papilio demoleus was ranked as the best pollinator of sarpagandha at Hisar, that confirmed our earlier belief about predominance of psychophilous mode of pollination (i.e., pollination by butterflies) in sarpagandha.
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How to cite this article:

Nidhi Wadhwa and Ram C. Sihag, 2012. Psychophilous Mode of Pollination Predominates in Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina). Journal of Entomology, 9: 187-207.

DOI: 10.3923/je.2012.187.207






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