Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]


Lauren Silbert



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Publication Date

September 2001


Inflorescences of Xanthosoma undipes (Araceae) thermoregulate, heating to temperatures ranging from 36ºC-46°C. Scarab beetles in the genus Cyclocephala spp. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), the pollinators of X. undipes, arrive at the inflorescence during heat production and remain for a period of two days, copulating and feeding. In this study I tested the hypothesis that thermogenesis is a mechanism by which to encourage pollinator copulation. Using an experimental design in which beetles were mated under varying temperature conditions to test for an optimal copulating temperature, I expected highest mating frequency to correspond to maximum inflorescence temperature. No correlation was found between temperature and mating frequency, suggesting that heat production does not attract pollinators looking for mates. Alternate hypotheses to explain production of heat are then examined.


Las flores de la planta X. undipes (Araceae) producen un aumento en la temperatura de 36°C-46°C. Los escarabajos del género Cyclocephala spp. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), son los que polinizan a las flores. Ellos llegan a la flor cuando aumenta la temperatura y se quedan en la flor por dos días. Los escarabajos comen y copulan en la flor. En este estudio, examiné la hipótesis que "termogénesis" es el mecanismo para alentar la copulación de los polinizadores. Los escarabajos se mantuvieron bajo diferentes temperaturas a ver si hay una temperatura óptima para copular. Se esperaba que más escarabajos copularan en la misma temperatura que las flores alcanzan. No se encontró correlación entre la temperatura y la frecuencia de copula. Esto propone que la producción de calor en la flor no atrae a los escarabajos que están buscando aparearse. Otras hipótesis para explicar la producción de calor fueron examinadas.


7 pages

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





The Aroid-scarab mutualism: Importance of floral temperature for scarab attraction and copulation, September 2001



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