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Pollination ecology and adaptation in platanthera chlorantha orchidaceae

Pollination ecology and adaptation in platanthera chlorantha orchidaceae

Botaniska Notiser 131(1): 35-51

Observations mainly from the island of Oland, southern Sweden, on relationships between insects and P. chlorantha (Cust.) Rchb. are reported. Twenty-eight species of Lepidoptera were found as pollen-vectors. The most important pollinators were species of Autographa, Apamea, Deilephila and Polia together with Cucullia umbratica and Diachrysia chrysitis. On Oland these moths transported about 97% of the pollinaria. Morphological comparisons between flowers and vectors revealed special adaptation to a group of medium-sized moths. The behavior of moths on flowers and the function of the pollination system are described. Selective mechanisms controlling adaptation between the plant and its pollen-vectors are elucidated. Emission periodicity of the floral fragrance was demonstrated by gas chromatography. Its chemical composition was analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and some of the components were tentatively identified. In experimental tests with moths the floral fragrance was shown to provoke alighting on artificial flowers and feeding reactions. Available information indicates great similarities of the pollinator fauna of P. chlorantha in different parts of Europe. Morphological uniformity among pollinator-species is suggested responsible for the small variation in flower morphology observed.

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