Floral lipid chemistry by Byrsonima crassifolia and a use of floral lipids by Centris bees

Vinson, S.B.; Williams, H.J.; Frankie, G.W.; Shrum, G.

Biotropica 29(1): 76-83


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3606
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.1997.tb00008.x
Accession: 031466910

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Byrsonima crassifolia (L.), a Neotropical malpighiaccous tree or treelet, has flowers that produce abundant lipids instead of nectar. Several species of Centris bees collect this oil. The floral oil shows variation between trees and can be separated into two types. One type is most common (11 of 14 samples) and consists of mono- and di-glycerides, some free fatty acids, a small amount of tri-glycerides and a trace of carbohydrate. The composition of the glycerides is predominantly (53-63%) esters of unsaturated 18C-22C fatty acids with the rest made up of 14C-18C saturated fatty acids. The second type of floral oil is similar to type one except that the samples contain large amounts of an unknown lipid more polar than the standards. Oil collected from the scopae of two representative Centris species, C. adanae and C. flavofasciata, was the same as the type one oil collected from B. crassifolia floral claiophores. The liquid provisions from the cells of several groundnesting Centris species was also found to be identical to B. crassifolia type one floral elaiophore oil with the exception of several minor ninhydrin positive compounds which may have been derived from the pollen which makes up part of the larval food provisions.