Detrimental effects of introduced honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) on native plant pollination have been predicted based on their observed deterrence or expulsion of native pollinators or their depletion of floral resources. Here, a case is reported in which floral visitation by the introduced honeybee affects male fitness and probably fruit and seed production of a tropical tree without affecting the resource sought by the native pollinator. Clusia arrudae is a dioecious species and is pollinated by individuals of Eufriesea nigrohirta that visit its flowers to collect resin. Male flowers, however, are also visited by individuals of A. mellifera, which remove ca 99 percent of their pollen grains. When E. nigrohirta leaves flowers previously visited by A. mellifera, they carry on their bodies less than 0.1 percent of the pollen grains carried by bees leaving flowers not visited by the honeybee. This may explain why the frequency of A. mellifera at male flowers is negatively correlated with the number of seeds produced by female flowers. This novel situation may affect other plants offering alternative rewards for pollinators, such as resins, oils, and aromatic compounds.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3