Studies on oil palm pollination by insects

In Cameroun, about a dozen species of insects were associated with oil palm inflorescences. All except Prosoestus spp. Visited female inflorescences after visiting male inflorescences during anthesis and transported pollen to the receptive female flowers. At a rough estimate, about 20 000 individuals visited each female inflorescence during the period of receptivity, and about 70% of the pollen transported was viable. In Peninsular Malaysia, Thrips hawaiiensis (Morg.) is almost certainly the main pollinating agent. Some 200 000 individuals were estimated to visit a single male inflorescence. They also visited female inflorescences, Where up to 7.3 thrips per flower were estimated to be present at any one time, each carrying 4–5 pollen grains, of which 76% were viable. In Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, a momphid moth. Pyroderces sp., may contribute to oil palm pollination. As natural pollination of all oil palms in Cameroun and taller palms in Peninsular Malaysia is considered adequate while in most areas of Sabah where few insects visit the flowers it is inadequate, it is concluded that the insects observed achieve pollination so the oil palm should be considered an entomophilous rather than an anemophilous plant.