MEPS 469:1-6 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10072

FEATURE ARTICLE
Meso-fauna foraging on seagrass pollen may serve in marine zoophilous pollination

Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek1,*, L. Veronica Monroy-Velazquez1, Vivianne Solis-Weiss2

1Unidad Académica de Sistemas Arrecifales-Puerto Morelos, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 1152, 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
2Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, Del. Coyoacán, 04510 México DF, Mexico

ABSTRACT: We investigated meso-faunal invertebrates visiting male and female flowers of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum at night during May to June 2009, 2011 and 2012, in Puerto Morelos reef lagoon, Mexican Caribbean. By means of video recordings, we established that more crustaceans visited male flowers bearing pollen than those without pollen grains. Foraging on pollen was observed on several occasions. On 76 flowers, we found 252 specimens belonging to 37 families and 57 species of crustaceans (Classes Maxillopoda, Ostracoda and Malacostraca), of which 15 were new records for the region. Annelids (mainly polychaetes) were less abundant (60 specimens) and less diverse (13 species), and they exhibited no obvious differences in their visits to male flowers with or without pollen. Negative consequences for seagrass reproductive success by the consumption of pollen were most likely insignificant, because the quantities of removed pollen were very small. However, many crustaceans and polychaetes had pollen embedded in mucilage attached to their body parts after visiting a male flower with pollen. Thus, these invertebrates may serve as pollinators of T. testudinum when visiting female flowers.


KEY WORDS: Meso-grazer · Crustacea · Polychaeta · Seagrass


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Cite this article as: van Tussenbroek BI, Monroy-Velazquez LV, Solis-Weiss V (2012) Meso-fauna foraging on seagrass pollen may serve in marine zoophilous pollination. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 469:1-6. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10072

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