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Relationship of visual and olfactory signal parameters in a food-deceptive flower mimicry system
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.
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2005 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology, ISSN 1045-2249, E-ISSN 1465-7279, Vol. 16, no 1, 159-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pollinators such as bees are attracted to flowers by their visual display and their scent. Although most flowers reinforce visits by providing pollen and/or nectar, there are species-notably from the orchid family-that do not but do resemble rewarding species. These mimicry relationships provide ideal opportunities for investigating the evolution of floral signals and their impact on pollinator behavior. Here, we have reanalyzed a case of specialized food mimicry between the orchid Orchis israelitica and its model, the lily Bellevalia flexuosa. Based on current knowledge of insect sensory physiology, we were able to characterize both the visual and olfactory signals of model and mimic, as well as of two phylogenetically related orchids. By using a color vision model, we mapped each species' visual signals to the perceptual space of honeybees and found an apparent shift of the mimic's visual signals towards the model. We confirm that visual mimicry is present. We analyzed the flower odors by using gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. We related these signals to the perceptual space of the pollinators by testing the scent extracts physiologically, using in vivo brain imaging. We found no evidence of olfactory mimicry. The results indicate that evolutionary pressure acts on the visual, but not olfactory, traits of O. israelitica toward a higher similarity to its model. Apparently, odor mismatch does not prevent a bee from landing on a flower that has the expected visual display. The results therefore argue for the dominance of visual stimuli in short-distance flower choice. The orchid may still depend on long-distance olfactory attraction originating from neighboring model plants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 16, no 1, 159-168 p.
Keyword [en]
flowers, mimicry, olfactory signals, Orchis israelitica, visual signals, apis-mellifera, color-vision, ophrys orchidaceae, target detection, honeybee brain, antennal lobes, floral mimicry, bumble bees, pollination, odor
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14428DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arh147ISI: 000225663900025ScopusID: 2-s2.0-12244278572OAI: diva2:332469
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05Bibliographically approved

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