Viola pedata (birdís-foot violet) is an eastern spring wildflower common in open woodlands and savannas. Populations generally include two flower-color morphs, one in which the color of all five petals is light lavender (LT) and one in which the upper two petals are dark violet and the lower three petals are lavender (BI). We followed dusky-wing butterflies (Erynnis), which are the primary pollinators in northern Missouri, to determine (1) if time spent on the two flower types differed, and (2) if time spent on an individual flower was affected by the color of the flower most recently visited. All four possible transition types were included in the second analysis. Pollinators spent an average of 12.1 s (se: 1.77) on LT flowers and 14.7 s (0.61) on BI flowers (t = 1.71, df = 357, p = 0.09). Time spent by pollinators on individual flowers was not significantly affected by the color of the previously-visited flower (F3,314 = 0.47, p = 0.70). Previous work has shown that pollinators visit the two flower-color morphs in proportion to their numerical representation. These visitation patterns, in combination with factors such as pollen load size and the compatibility of within- and between-morph crosses, are likely to have important consequences for the population genetic structure in this species.

Key words: flower color polymorphism, pollinator behavior, Viola pedata