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Trends Ecol Evol. 2016 May;31(5):339-341. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.013. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

Floral Nectar: Pollinator Attraction or Manipulation?

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School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia; Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; Australian Museum, 6 College St, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia. Electronic address:


The literature suggests that floral nectar acts principally to attract pollinator visitation (and/or revisitation), thereby enhancing plant reproductive success. However, floral nectar also manipulates pollinator behaviour during and immediately following plant visits, affecting pollen transfer, and plant reproduction. I argue that floral nectar should really be viewed as a pollinator manipulant rather than attractant, thus potentially explaining why its concentration is not generally high and why it decreases with increasing pollinator body size. Otherwise, such patterns may remain mysterious and unexplained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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