We studied the reproductive biology and pollination ecology of the palm cabecinegro (Manicaria saccifera) in very wet tropical forest, in the Chocó, Pacific region of Colombia. We present data about the phenology, floral morphology, floral biology, reproductive system, and pollination. M. saccifera is monoecious, self-incompatible, lacks apomixis and has dichogamy in the form of protogyny. Flowering occurs all year round with a peak between April and May. A single individual may produce up to five inflorescences in its reproductive period. Each inflorescence has unisexual flowers grouped in dyads and triads; anthesis is diurnal and the flowers may be receptive for 72 h. Flowers are visited by 10 species of insects. The inflorescences in the female-phase do not offer reward and insects are attracted by olfactory mimicry; in the male-phase flowers reward visitors with pollen and a place to oviposit. The most efficient pollinator is Mystrosp cercus (Nitidulidae), the only visitor arriving in abundance during the female-phase. Other insects do not enter the flower because the peduncular bract and the petals act as barriers, blocking the entrance of insects greater than 2 mm. Having one exclusive pollinator which in turn depends on the palm for its survival is an example of extreme specialization and mutual dependence.
Part of the book: Pollination in Plants