The effects of the surface secretions of eight species of ants on three types of pollen were bioassayed by exposure to the integument of undisturbed, living individuals for 20 min. Ant species included Atta texana which cultures fungi by means of various types of secretions. The frequency of grains showing membrane dysfunction, and therefore reduced viability, was quantified by means of a fluorochromatic test. Comparisons of treated and control samples showed that in 46 out of 50 bioassays there was a reduction in pollen viability following exposure to ants, 38 being statistically significant. Variation in the outcome of bioassays showed differential potency among ant species and differential vulnerability among pollen types. Ant pollination may be uncommon because surface secretions, often from the metapleural glands, cause membrane dysfunction in pollen. Ant species without metapleural glands may be pollinators, but ant pollinated plants may have pollen resistant to the secretion.
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 1988|