oa African Entomology - Potential pollinators of the Cape Group of Crotalarieae (sensu Polhill) (Fabales: Papilionaceae), with implications for seed production in cultivated rooibos tea
This study characterizes the assemblages of Hymenoptera that visit flowers of the genera Aspalathus Linnaeus, Lebeckia Thunberg, Wiborgia Thunberg and Rafnia Thunberg, the Cape Group of Crotalarieae (sensu Polhill1981) (Papilionaceae) , and evaluates the potential of their members as pollinators. All the assemblages from the western and eastern Cape are characterized by the presence of Megachilinae (Megachilidae) and Xylocopinae and/or Anthophorinae (Anthophoridae), and those from the west (excluding Rafnia) by the presence of Masarinae (Vespidae). Although not restricted to Polhill's Cape Group, the Megachilinae and Xylocopinae are potential pollinators. Two species of Masarina Richards (Masarinae) are apparently restricted to Aspalathus, Lebeckia and Wiborgia, and are potential pollinators of the smaller-flowered species of these genera. Two species of Ceramius Latreille (Masarinae) are apparently restricted to Aspalathus and are potential pollinators and, within their distribution ranges, the most dependable visitors of this genus. Apis mellifera Linnaeus (Apidae) and Eumeninae (Vespidae) visit all four genera but are probably of little importance as pollinators. Apis mellifera is certainly able to obtain nectar from the smaller-flowered species without tripping the flowers. The implications of these findings for seed production in the rooibos tea industry are discussed.
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