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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

Aroids are perennial herbs characterized by inflorescences consisting of a finger-like spadix surrounded by a vase-like spathe. A prominent aroid in Georgia is the Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum. We assessed the role of the spadix in attracting insect visitors to Arisaema triphyllum. Two study sites near Dahlonega, Georgia, were chosen: one along an unnamed first-order stream and the other along third-order Cane Creek. Plants received either ablation of the distal appendix, removal of the spadix tip, or a sham ablation. Arthropod visitors were captured with a small sticky trap placed inside the spathe. Despite the treatment applied, the number of Diptera captured was not affected. In contrast, ablation reduced the number of Collembola captured to just 29 % of that of the other two treatments (interaction of taxon and treatment after square root transformation: F10,480 = 2.761, P = 0.003). Pollination in A. triphyllum has previously been attributed to fungus gnats (Diptera) and Heterothrips arisaemae (Thysanoptera). Our results suggest that Collembola, which do not fly, may play a role in pollination, perhaps within clustered plants in which long-distance travel is not necessary.

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