The beauty of deception
Research report (imported) 2010 - Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Plants of the Arum family and many orchids have something in common: they deceive flying insects using chemical deception to be pollinated and to transmit pollen to neighboring flowers. Flowers emit volatile compounds that e.g. imitate yeast-dependent fermentation products to attract vinegar flies, while others mimic female sex pheromones to seduce male insects. The duped insects are not rewarded with nectar for their indeliberate pollination service. Analysis of the volatiles involved in these deceptive mechanisms allows new insights into the ecology and co-evolution of plants and insects.