Pollinator identity and spatial isolation influence multiple paternity in an annual plant

Matthew K. Rhodes*, Jeremie B. Fant, Krissa A. Skogen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The occurrence and extent of multiple paternity is an important component of variation in plant mating dynamics. However, links between pollinator activity and multiple paternity are generally lacking, especially for plant species that attract functionally diverse floral visitors. In this study, we separated the influence of two functionally distinct floral visitors (hawkmoths and solitary bees) and characterized their impacts on multiple paternity in a self-incompatible, annual forb, Oenothera harringtonii (Onagraceae). We also situated pollinator-mediated effects in a spatial context by linking variation in multiple paternity to variation in plant spatial isolation. We documented pronounced differences in the number of paternal sires as function of pollinator identity: on average, the primary pollinator (hawkmoths) facilitated mating with nearly twice as many pollen donors relative to the secondary pollinator (solitary bees). This effect was consistent for both isolated and nonisolated individuals, but spatial isolation imposed pronounced reductions on multiple paternity regardless of pollinator identity. Considering that pollinator abundance and pollen dispersal distance did not vary significantly with pollinator identity, we attribute variation in realized mating dynamics primarily to differences in pollinator morphology and behaviour as opposed to pollinator abundance or mating incompatibility arising from underlying spatial genetic structure. Our findings demonstrate that functionally distinct pollinators can have strongly divergent effects on polyandry in plants and further suggest that both pollinator identity and spatial heterogeneity have important roles in plant mating dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4296-4308
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Hyles
  • Oenothera
  • hawkmoth
  • multiple paternity
  • pollination
  • solitary bee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pollinator identity and spatial isolation influence multiple paternity in an annual plant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this