Potential pollinators and floral visitors of introduced tropical biofuel tree species Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae), in Southern Africa.
Jatropha curcas L. is a tropical tree belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family with oil-rich seeds that are currently used as a source of biodisel. A better knowledge of the reproductive ecology is imperative for yield optimisation and invasiveness risk assessment. Insight in the diversity and movement of potential pollinators, forms an important aspect of the needed knowledge. In this paper, we report on J. curcas flower visitors observed in two Southern African countries, Zambia and Malawi. A total of 41 insects and 2 Arachnida in Zambia and 29 insect species in Malawi visited J. curcas flowers. Diptera and Hymenoptera were the largest groups. The most abundant insect visitors were Apis mellifera and Chrysomya chloropyga. Apis mellifera visited more inflorescences within short periods than C. chloropyga, and showed a frequent appearance in both sites. Therefore, Apis mellifera seems to be more important in the pollination process of J. curcas in the Southern African region.
Key Words: Apis mellifera, biodisel, Chrysomya chloropyga