Like many orchids, Caladenia parva employs sexual mimicry as an extremely specialised mode of pollination. The species targets flower wasps like Lophocheilus anilitatus. The winged males are attracted to the orchid’s scent, which mimics the pheromones of the female wasp. The labellum acts as a landing pad and has rows of raised bumps that resemble the female wasp. Once the male wasp assumes the position, the weight of the insect swings the labellum inwards, placing the thorax of the wasp in contact with sticky parcels of pollen called pollinia. The wasp then flies away and repeats the process, but this time, the pollinia stuck on the back of the wasp make contact with the style of another orchid thereby achieving pollination.
Pollination of Caladenia parva
- Post published:October 9, 2021
- Post category:Australian / Terrestrial