Afrothismia kupensis sp. nov. (Thismiaceae), Critically Endangered, with observations on its pollination and notes on the endemics of Mt Kupe, Cameroon - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew research repository
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Afrothismia kupensis sp. nov. (Thismiaceae), Critically Endangered, with observations on its pollination and notes on the endemics of Mt Kupe, Cameroon

30 September 2019

Abstract

The achlorophyllous mycotroph Afrothismia kupensis (Thismiaceae), formerly misidentified either as A. pachyantha or as A. gesnerioides, is described from Mt Kupe in South West Region, Cameroon and assessed as Critically Endangered using the IUCN (2012) categories and criteria. It is threatened by forest clearance due to small-holder agriculture. Mt Kupe, with four of the 16 described species of Afrothismia, three of which are site endemics, is now the most species-diverse location known globally for the genus. Observations of floral visitors over seven days resulted in the identification of the likely pollinator as being females of an unknown species of Phoridae (scuttle fly) probably of the genus Megaselia. This is the first record of pollination known in the Thismiaceae, and may represent a mutualism between plant and animal partners.

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