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Orchid Pollinators

  • 42 Members
  • 81 Sightings
  • 0 Posts

Orchids have evolved an amazing strategy to specifically target certain species of animals to initialize pollination. This is often done for little or no reward and sometimes they mimic other insects or plants in order to fool the targeted insect into visiting the flower and transferring pollen between individuals of the same species. This can be in the form of Floral Mimicry, where the orchid looks like a nectar bearing flower but produces little or no nectar, or Sexual Mimicry where the insect is tricked into pseudocopulating(mating) with a specially designed part of the flower, known as the labellum, and is forced to pick up and deposit pollen with each visit. There are many other mechanisms which orchids use to attract their vectors and these can be as wide and varied as the the orchids themselves. This is a little studied subject and until recently a lot of these amazing relationships have just been hypothesized and very little has been recorded. We hoe to gain a better understanding of these amazing interactions.

  • Em Noble identified a sighting

    Sighting Melyrid Beetle on Salmon Sun-orchid in Heathy Dry Forest, Scarsdale

    1 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    1 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    Em Noble 18 September 2018
    Dicranolaius
    (genus)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Coleoptera: Melyridae: Dicranolaius
    Em Noble says

    Several Melyrid beetles were apparently feeding on flowers in a Salmon Sun-orchid (Thelymitra rubra) colony in Heathy Dry Forest, getting pollen transferred onto their antennae and heads in their process. They attempted to wipe it off, unsuccessfully.

    1 votes
    0
  • Em Noble described a sighting

    Sighting Melyrid Beetle on Salmon Sun-orchid in Heathy Dry Forest, Scarsdale

    1 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    1 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
  • Em Noble added a sighting

    Melyrid Beetle on Salmon Sun-orchid in Heathy Dry Forest, Scarsdale

    1 votes
    1 favourites
    1
    1
    0
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    98 Corio Dam Rd, Scarsdale VIC 3351, Australia

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  • Em Noble described a sighting

    Sighting Salmon Sun-orchid with Melyrid Beetle

    1 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    2 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    Em Noble 18 September 2018
    Em Noble says

    Several Melyrid Beetles, Dicranolaius sp. were apparently feeding on Salmon Sun-orchids in a colony in Heathy Dry Forest, getting pollen on their antennae and heads in the process, which they tried hard to clean off, without success.

    1 votes
    0
  • Em Noble identified a sighting

    Sighting Salmon Sun-orchid with Melyrid Beetle

    1 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    2 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    Em Noble 15 August 2018
    Thelymitra rubra
    (species)
    Taxonomy: Plantae: Angiospermae: Monocotyledoneae: Asparagales: Orchidaceae: Thelymitra: rubra
    Common Names: Orchid family, Salmon Sun Orchid, Pink Sun Orchid, Red Sun Orchid, Salmon Sun-orchid, Pink Sun-orchid
    1 votes
    0
  • Em Noble described a sighting

    Sighting Salmon Sun-orchid with Melyrid Beetle

    1 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    2 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    Em Noble 15 August 2018
    1 votes
    0
  • Em Noble added a sighting

    Salmon Sun-orchid with Melyrid Beetle

    1 votes
    1 favourites
    1
    2
    0
    Sighted 20 Oct 2015
    115 Corio Dam Rd, Scarsdale VIC 3351, Australia
  • Mitch Smith identified a sighting

    Sighting Leioproctus pollinating Thelymitra cyanea

    2 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    1 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 4 Jan 2018
    Mitch Smith 12 January 2018
    Leioproctus
    (genus)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Leioproctus
    0 votes
    0
  • Mitch Smith described a sighting

    Sighting Leioproctus pollinating Thelymitra cyanea

    2 votes
    1 faves
    1 ids
    1 notes
    0 disc.
    Sighted 4 Jan 2018
    Mitch Smith 12 January 2018
    Tagged With orchid pollinator
    Mitch Smith says

    Whilst most Thelymitra sp. are only pollinated by female Halictid bees seeking pollen, which is falsely presented on elaborate structures by these orchids, many species have evolved an additional pollination strategy to supplement their specific pollination requirements.Whilst attempting to collect pollen from the false anther structure, the female Halictid bee has the right action to collect the solid package of pollen , known as the pollinia, from deep within the column of the orchid.This solid mass is adhered to the base of her abdomen as she swipes passed the sticky fluid on the stigma and is removed without self pollinating the orchid(see http://www.bowerbird.org.au/observations/37185), also rendering it unusable to the bee. But, with many sun orchids their pollinia breaks up quickly and falls directly on to the stigma causing self pollination, and also allow various visitors to incidentally distribute it, hopefully to other orchids. This is the first time i have seen an insect purposefully targeting and utilizing Thelymitra pollen with such intent, even targeting the fresh pollen still enclosed in its protective package using its mandibles. Several of these Leioproctus bees were 'working' a vast colony of these orchids in an alpine swamp for over an hour, and luckily this one wasn't so fussed with my presence.

    0 votes
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  • Mitch Smith added a sighting

    Leioproctus pollinating Thelymitra cyanea

    2 votes
    1 favourites
    1
    1
    0
    Sighted 4 Jan 2018
    Royston Gap Rd, Rubicon VIC 3712, Australia

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