Pollinator sharing between close relatives can be costly and can promote pollination niche partitioning and floral divergence. This should be reflected by a higher species divergence in sympatry than in allopatry. We tested this hypothesis in two orchid congeners with overlapping distributions and flowering times. We characterized floral traits and pollination niches and quantified pollen limitation in 15 pure and mixed populations, and we measured phenotypic selection on floral traits and performed controlled crosses in one mixed site. Most floral traits differed between species, yet pollinator sharing was extensive. Only the timing of scent emission diverged more in mixed sites than in pure sites, and this was not mirrored by the timing of pollinator visitation. We did not detect divergent selection on floral traits. Seed production was pollen limited in most populations but not more severely in mixed sites than in pure sites. Interspecific crosses produced the same or a higher proportion of viable seeds than intraspecific crosses. The two orchid species attract the same pollinator species despite showing divergent floral traits. However, this does not promote character displacement, implying a low cost of pollinator sharing. Our results highlight the importance of characterizing both traits and ecological niches in character displacement studies.
|Status||Published - 2022 apr.|
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