Plant-pollinator interactions: Reproductive biology study of Cyrtorchis letouzeyi, a rare and (sub) endemic orchid in the Dja Faunal Reserve, Cameroon
Laura AZANDI NGNINTEDEM, João NUNES DE MATOS FARMINHÃO & Marie SAVIGNAC (2018)
Abstract - Although our knowledge of the Central African orchid flora has greatly improved in recent years, very little is known about their pollination, limiting our understanding of their ecology, and therefore, our ability to develop effective in situ conservation measures. It is in this perspective that we identified and monitored a population of 31 individuals of Cyrtorchis letouzeyi, a rare and endemic species from Central Africa, in the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon. The recording of 1301 hours of video using day and night-vision cameras and the installation of an insect light trap allowed us to discover a potential pollinator with a proboscis of 18 cm long whose identification is in process. Phenological monitoring of flowering also enabled us to determine that only 7% of the flowers developed into fruit; this might partly explain the rarity of the studied species. The new shadehouse built at the Bouamir research station during this study will allow for the obtention of fertile herbarium specimens and a thorough phenological follow-up of the orchids in culture.
Pollinator monitoring and capture. Flowering specimen of Cyrtorchis letouzeyi before pollination by hawkmoth (A). Snapshot of a video recorded with the camera trap showing a hawkmoth foraging on the flowers (B). Hawkmoths captured using light trap (C). Cyrtorchis letouzeyi plant developing fruits after the pollinator visit (D).