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Exploring the best native insect pollinators for the reproductive success of Bauhinia variegata L. (Fabaceae) in Multan, Pakistan

Mariam Zahid, Mudssar Ali, Fawad Z. Khan, Naeem Iqbal, Muhammad A. Khan and Shafqat Saeed

Insect pollination is an important ecosystem service for the reproductive success of different plant species. The mountain ebony, Bauhinia variegata L. (Fabaceae) is a native tree of Pakistan, and its flowering buds are used as a vegetable. The current study aims to determine the diversity and efficiency of native insect pollinators in the seed set of B. variegata. The foraging behavior of the pollinators was assessed in terms of their stay time and visitation rate. Furthermore, most abundant insect pollinators were also tested for their pollination efficiency in terms of single-visit pollen deposition and single-visit seed set. Moreover, different pollination treatments (i.e., open, hand cross, hand self, and natural self-pollination) were also compared. The insect pollinator fauna was composed of four hymenopteran species, four dipteran species, and three lepidopteran species. The managed honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) was the most abundant insect pollinator, followed by the wild honey bee, A. dorsata and a hover fly species Ischiodon scutellaris (F.) (Diptera: Syrphidae). Based on the efficiency of pollen deposition and single visit seed set, A. dorsata and A. mellifera were the most efficient insect pollinators followed by I. scutellaris. Open pollination resulted in better reproductive success parameters (pod length, pod weight, number of seeds per pod, and seed weight per pod) as compared to other pollination treatments. The study concluded that conserving the most efficient insect pollinators (through providing year-round foraging and nesting resources) can help in improving the reproductive success of B. variegata and other cross-pollinated crops in the same region.

To Cite this article: Zahid, M., M. Ali, F.Z. Khan, N. Iqbal, M.A. Khan and S. Saeed. 2023. Exploring the best native insect pollinators for the reproductive success of Bauhinia variegata L. (Fabaceae) in Multan, Pakistan. Pak. J. Bot., 55(5): DOI:  

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