Annals of Botany

Pollination of Specklinia by nectar feeding Drosophila

Aggregation pheromones released by the flowers of Specklinia orchids attract flies from the Drosophila genus for pollination.
Pollination of Specklinia by nectar feeding Drosophila
Pollination of Specklinia by nectar feeding Drosophila

Species of the Specklinia endotrachys complex are known to be visited by flies of the genus Drosophila. Karremans et al. conduct field studies and find that the flies of different species of the Drosophila repleta group are attracted by aggregation pheromones, including ethyl tiglate, methyl tiglate and isopropyl tiglate, released by the flowers. Nectar drops are secreted by stomata on the sepals, encouraging the flies, both males and females, to linger on the flowers for several hours at a time. Pollen is removed or deposited by the fly when exiting backwards out of the column/lip cavity. The results indicate that there is no species-specific relationship between the orchids and the flies; however, it is not expected that the Specklinia species will hybridize naturally as their populations do not overlap geographically.

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