Ecological and evolutionary implications of nectar robbing in flowering plants.

The general association between the characteristics of flowers and those of their pollinators provides the basis for the hypothesis that interaction with pollinators is responsible for the diversity of floral types. However, nectar robbing represents a complex relationship between floral visitors and plants in which a mismatch between morphology of visitor and flowers promote the access to the nectar in an illegitimate mode. Nectar robbers are birds, insects, or other flower visitors that remove nectar from flowers through a hole pierced or bitten in the corolla tube or spurs. Notwithstanding a common phenomenon in plant species with tubular flowers or flowers with nectar spurs, its effects on pollination and fitness of the plants have been largely ignored. We try to acquire an expanded understanding of the ecological and evolutionary roles that robbers could play.

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