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The functional ecology of bat pollination in the African sausage tree Kigelia africana (Bignoniaceae)

Cite this dataset

Newman, Ethan; Govender, Keeveshnee; Niekerk, Sandy van; Johnson, Steven D. (2020). The functional ecology of bat pollination in the African sausage tree Kigelia africana (Bignoniaceae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Plants often interact with a wide range of animal floral visitors that can vary in their pollination effectiveness. Flowers of the African sausage tree Kigelia africana are be visited by bats and bush babies during the night and by birds during the day. We studied floral traits (phenophases, scent, colour and nectar chemistry) and the visitation frequency and pollination effectiveness of different flower visitors to determine if K. africana is functionally specialized for bat-pollination. We found that flower opening corresponds with bat activity, flowers emit scent dominated by aliphatic esters and alcohols, and that nectar is produced in copious amounts accessible to bats. Pollen deposition on stigmas was twenty-fold greater per-visit by bats than it was per-visit by birds, likely a result of the close morphological fit between snouts of bats and the flowers. However, bat visits appear to be rare at some sites and the delayed senescence of flowers that are open throughout the morning provides an opportunity for additional pollination by birds. We conclude that K. africana is primarily adapted for bat pollination, but is also able

Usage notes

1.) Document "Single_visits" contains the data from the single visit experiment conducted in the Botanical gardens at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (pietermaritzburg campus)

2.) Document "pollinator_observations" contains the data recorded from motion trigger cameras used to determine the visitors to the flowers and assess their time of activity with flower opening.

3.) Document "Kigelia timelapse" contains data on the "lifetime" of individual flowers used to determine patterns associated with flower opening, flower longevity, including senescence recorded at Pietermaritzburg and Ndumo game reserve.


National Research Foundation, Award: 46372