PREMISE OF THE STUDYUltraviolet (UV) floral patterns are common in angiosperms and mediate pollinator attraction, efficiency, and constancy. UV patterns may vary within species, yet are cryptic to human observers. Thus, few studies have explicitly described the distribution or ecological significance of intraspecific variation in UV floral patterning. Here, we describe the geographic distribution and pattern of inheritance of a UV polymorphism in the model plant species Mimulus guttatus (Phrymaceae). We then test whether naturally occurring UV phenotypes influence pollinator interactions within M. guttatus.•
METHODSWe document UV patterns in 18 annual and 19 perennial populations and test whether UV pattern is associated with life history. To examine the pattern of inheritance, we conducted crosses within and between UV phenotypes. Finally, we tested whether bee pollinators discriminate among naturally occurring UV phenotypes in two settings: wild bee communities and captive Bombus impatiens.•
KEY RESULTSWithin M. guttatus, perennial populations exhibit a small bulls-eye pattern, whereas a bilaterally symmetric runway pattern occurs mainly in annual populations. Inheritance of UV patterning is consistent with a single-locus Mendelian model in which the runway phenotype is dominant. Bee pollinators discriminate against unfamiliar UV patterns in both natural and controlled settings.•
CONCLUSIONSWe describe a widespread UV polymorphism associated with life history divergence within Mimulus guttatus. UV pattern influences pollinator visitation and should be considered when estimating reproductive barriers between life history ecotypes. This work develops a new system to investigate the ecology and evolution of UV floral patterning in a species with extensive genomic resources.