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Humidity, nectar and insect visits to flowers, with special reference to Crataegus, Tilia and Echium

Humidity, nectar and insect visits to flowers, with special reference to Crataegus, Tilia and Echium

Ecological Entomology, 41: 9-22

Field observations on diel changes in the nectars of Crataegus, Tilia and Echium in relation to microclimate and insect visits are described. Nectar concentration is highly correlated with ambient relative humidity. The concentrative properties of the nectars differ from those of pure sugar solutions in ways that could be due to microclimate or chemical effects. The microclimate inside flowers may influence the rate of equilibration of nectar with the relative humidity of the air or the equilibrium concentration itself. The vapor pressure relationships of nectars may be influenced by the presence of components with low r/P values (i.e., solutes which in solution show a relatively large lowering of vapor pressure, P, for a small change in refraction, r). Such components might be released by microorganisms in the nectar. The quantity of sugar per flower depends on the relative rates of secretion and reabsorption, among other things. The flowers studied showed evidence for morning and evening peaks of secretion; in Crataegus substantial quantities of sugar were sequestered around midday. The pattern of visits by bumblebees to the flowers of Tilia and Echium can be related to the changing concentration of sugar in the nectar. Caloric reward was probably not limiting for bumblebees visiting Tilia.

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Accession: 000903807

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.1979.tb00557.x

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