The role of pollinators in floral integration: a case of study in genus Petrocoptis (Caryophyllaceae).

MEC-DGCYT CGL2006-13847-CO2-02

The genus Petrocoptis (Caryophyllaceae), is a very old endemic genus of the Iberian Peninsula, close to Silene. Its distribution area is reduced to limestone outcrops in the Pyreneean-Cantabrian axis, with the exception of the species P. pardoi, that inhabits in the Bergantes river valley, at the provinces of Teruel and Castellón. The genus comprised 11 taxa.

Along the distribution area, each taxon occupies one or several different valleys without overlapping their areas. The species grows exclusively in limestone crevices, overhangs and ledges.

Previous studies have shown that within this genus there are two groups of species differing in floral characters:

  1. Pollinator-independent species to set fruit, with mainly actinomorphic, white, and nectarless flowers.
  2. Pollinator-dependent species, with zygomorphic, pink or purple flowers, which produce copious amounts of nectar.

The objective of this study is to examine if the taxa of Petrocoptis that present a higher degree of specialization and dependence of pollinators, also show a higher degree of floral phenotypic integration (hypothesis of Berg, 1959, 1960) and higher to that presented by those taxa that do not have dependence on pollinators to produce fruits and seeds.

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