Mammillaria gaumeri (Britton & Ross) Orcutt (Cactaceae), an endemic plant of the Yucatan Peninsula, is included by the Mexican government in the list of species that require special protection. Its natural habitat is now restricted to fragmented areas and protection programs involve botanical gardens in growing individuals rescued from disturbed areas. Little information is available on the reproductive characteristics of this species and nothing is known of its pollinators. We investigated the visitors of M. gaumeri flowers, collecting and observing bee species in its natural habitat (i.e., coastal dune) and in a botanical garden, where coastal dune vegetation had been created. Observations were made on plants whose density was artificially increased by grouping flowering individuals. At each site, we: 1) collected insects visiting the flowers; 2) recorded number of visits; and 3) video-recorded bee movements on the flowers. As expected, the number of bee species and visitation frequency were higher at the botanical garden than at the coastal dune. After landing on a flower, bees either inspected the anthers or dived among them. These behaviors, carried out by all observed species, seemed related to the state of the anthers (full or empty of pollen) and stigma lobes (opened or closed). Specifically, visits lasted longer when anthers were full of pollen and stigma lobes were opened. The same bee species recorded on the dune were also recorded at the botanical garden, suggesting that the artificial dune at the botanical garden offered suitable conditions for the natural pollinators of this endangered cactus.
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Vol. 54 • No. 4