New evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis of heterostyly: breeding systems and pollinators in Narcissus sect. Apodanthi

Rocio Pérez-Barrales, Pablo Vargas, Juan Arroyo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


• Here we analysed the role played by breeding systems and pollinators in the evolution of heterostyly by testing whether evolution towards heterostyly is associated with style polymorphism and changes in pollinator proficiency or breeding system variation (Darwinian hypothesis). • We studied pollinators, pollen-transfer efficiency, and incompatibility systems in all seven species of Narcissus sect. Apodanthi for which we also obtained chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequences from three spacers to infer phylogenetic relationships. • Five species are self-incompatible and within-morph cross-compatible. Heterostylous (Narcissus albimarginatus) and style-dimorphic (Narcissus cuatrecasasii) species that have a high degree of reciprocity in stigma and anther height are primarily pollinated by solitary bees. The style-monomorphic species (Narcissus watieri) and the style-dimorphic species with the least stigma-anther reciprocity (Narcissus rupicola) are both self-compatible and pollinated by butterflies, moths and hover flies. • Phylogenetic reconstruction of character transitions indicates that the shift from style dimorphism to distyly is associated with a shift to bee pollination. Pollination by lepidopterans and flies is associated with stable style dimorphism and monomorphism. Evolution and maintenance of style polymorphisms in this group of species are independent of incompatibility systems. Taken together, our results strongly support the pollinator-based model for evolution of heterostyly and style length polymorphisms in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-567
Number of pages15
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006


  • Incompatibility system
  • Lepidopterans
  • Phylogenetic reconstruction
  • Solitary bees
  • Speciation
  • Style dimorphism
  • Syrphids
  • Trichoptera


Dive into the research topics of 'New evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis of heterostyly: breeding systems and pollinators in Narcissus sect. Apodanthi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this