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Smells like aphids : orchid flowers mimic aphid alarm pheromones to attract hoverflies for pollination

Title data

Stökl, Johannes ; Brodmann, Jennifer ; Dafni, Amots ; Ayasse, Manfred ; Hansson, Bill S.:
Smells like aphids : orchid flowers mimic aphid alarm pheromones to attract hoverflies for pollination.
In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B : Biological Sciences. Vol. 278 (2011) . - pp. 1216-1222.
ISSN 1471-2954
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.1770

Abstract in another language

Most insects are dependent on chemical communication for activities such as mate finding or host location. Several plants, and especially orchids, mimic insect semiochemicals to attract insects for unrewarded pollination. Here, we present a new case of pheromone mimicry found in the terrestrial orchid Epipactis veratrifolia. Flowers are visited and pollinated by several species of aphidophagous hoverflies, the females of which also often lay eggs in the flowers. The oviposition behaviour of these hoverflies is mainly guided by aphid-derived kairomones. We show that the flowers produce α- and β-pinene, β-myrcene and β-phellandrene, and that these compounds attract and induce oviposition behaviour in female hoverflies. This floral odour profile is remarkably similar to the alarm pheromone released by several aphid species, such as Megoura viciae. We therefore suggest that E. veratrifolia mimics aphid alarm pheromones to attract hoverflies for pollination; this is the first time, to our knowledge, that such a case of mimicry has been demonstrated.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147481
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 09:25
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 09:25
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48390