Mammal-plant interactions differ significantly between urban and natural environments; however, knowledge of mammal-pollinated plants in urban areas remains limited compared to plants in their natural habitats. Here, we compared the flower visitors of Mucuna macrocarpa between urban and forested areas in Okinawa-jima Island, Japan and in Taiwan. Mucuna macrocarpa requires a highly specialized pollination process. Our study showed that Ryukyu flying foxes (Pteropus dasymallus) were the pollinator of M. macrocarpa in both the urban and forested areas of Okinawa-jima Island, whereas, in Taiwan, red-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus) were the main pollinator species. Both pollinator species visited inflorescences in urban areas at the same or higher frequency as in forested areas. In contrast, non-pollinating animals engaged in nectar-robbing or picking-off behaviors when visiting Mucuna flowers in forested areas only. These results suggest that M. macrocarpa successfully attracts local pollinators, even in urban environments that have relatively low biodiversity. The negative effect of animal guilds on the success of M. macrocarpa pollination is significantly lower in urban compared to forested areas. However, the fragmentation caused by urbanization might reduce the opportunity for cross-pollination.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4