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The Relationship Between The Victoria Amazonica & Dynastid Beetles

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Victoria amazonica is the giant water lily. This experiment is showing the relationship between the Victoria amazonica and Dynastid beetles. Upon discovery of the Victoria amazonica, four beetle species were found upon the leaves of the plant. Ligyrus was one of the beetle’s genus’ and the other three were from the genus Cyclocephala. Of the flowers studied 90 percent were from the later genus. Since the smell of the Victoria amazonica is very strong, and the white flowers are very vibrant on the initial germination day, various beetles are attracted to the Victoria amazonica.

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The beetles that are attracted to the Victoria amazonica are encapsulated in the flowers structures for an entire twenty four hour period. In this twenty four hour period the beetles eat the flowers internal structures (Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens 2007).The hypothesis of this study is that the beetles will become more attracted to the Victoria amazonica when it is at a higher temperature set point. When the temperature is higher, the Victoria amazonica gives off a stronger odor than when the temperature is cooler than usual.

At eleven degrees Celsius above the set point the observations were recorded. At this point the Victoria Amazonica gives off a stronger color and the color of its flowers are more vibrant than at a temperature that is lower than the initial set point. The Victoria amazonica was studied for one year. The study was done in a greenhouse outside of its natural habitat, so the results of the study may vary from the Amazon, the Victoria amazonica’s proper environment.

The data collected was also compared to the Victoria cruziana, this plant is the sister taxa to the Victoria amazonica, they share a most recent common ancestor (Prance and Arias 1975). The significance of comparing the Victoria amazonica and the Victoria cruziana is the temperature difference of the two species. The Victoria cruziana can germinate in a cooler water temperature than its counterpart. This difference is important to note because in higher temperatures these two plants give off a stronger odor and a more vibrant color, which in turn can increase the frequency of beetles found on the two different plant types.

On the first day of the study temperatures were recorded at 6 degrees Celsius temperature difference. The highest temperature difference was 10.2 degrees Celsius at seven fifteen that day. It was noted that the flowers bloomed and gave off a strong odor at that time. Between 17:00 and 18:00 hours, pollen was eliminated from the flowers the next day. At the time the flowers opened again. The scientist also noted that the flowers could have pollinated themselves. The beetles were found inside of the flower and then they disappeared the next day around the same time.

The second day, the temperature the Victoria amazonica and the Victoria cruziana were exposed to greatly colder temperatures. About 78% less beetles were found on the plants surfaces (Missouri Botanical Gardens 2018). This supports the research hypothesis that the beetles are more attracted to the Victoria amazonica and the Victoria cruziana at higher temperatures than lower temperatures. Water levels also affect the way the Victoria amazonica germinates. Flooding can occur when the water level gets too high. The opposite occurs for the plant when the water level falls too low. This can affect the longevity of the plant. Plants under this condition die after about a year, compared to the several years that the species usually lives.

In the end, the null hypothesis that the beetles will not be more attracted to the Victoria amazonica in higher temperatures was rejected. Thus, the research hypothesis that the beetles will become more attracted to the Victoria amazonica in higher temperatures because of changes to the plant’s odor and vibrant color appearance during the first few days of germination, was supported.

01 April 2020

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