Astrophytum asterias (star cactus) is an obligate outcrosser that does not reproduce vegetatively, so all reproduction is the result of inter-plant transfer of pollen by insects. By measuring seed set resulting from single pollinator visits, we evaluated effectiveness (mean seed set per visit) and importance of pollinator (effectiveness times frequency of visitation) of insects visiting flowers of A. asterias. Results indicate that the most common visitor, Macrotera lobata, is a relatively ineffective pollinator, while the less common Diadasia rinconis is the most effective and important pollinator. Two behavioral variables (duration of visit, whether or not visitors landed on the stigma) were assessed as possible predictors of fruit set. While duration of visit was not predictive of fruit set, there was a positive correlation between fruit set and the proportion of visits a visitor landed on the stigma when entering the flower.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4