J Syst Evol ›› 2007, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (4): 551-560.doi: 10.1360/aps07025

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Pollination syndromes predict brood-site deceptive pollination by female hoverflies in Paphiopedilum dianthum (Orchidaceae)

2 5SHI Jun, 2 5CHENG Jin, 3LUO Dun, 4SHANGGUAN Fa-Zhi, 1 2LUO Yi-Bo*   

  1. 1(The National Orchid Conservation Center, Shenzhen 518114, China)

    2(State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Beijing 100093, China)

    3(Yachang Orchids Nature Reserve, Leye, Guangxi 533209, China)

    4(Biology College of Guizhou University, Guiyang 500251, China)

    5(Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)luoyb@ibcas.ac.cn
  • Received:2007-02-12 Online:2007-06-07 Published:2007-07-18

Abstract: In order to explore the relationship between the pollinator and pollination
syndromes, and to evaluate the possibility of predicting likely pollinators based on pollination
syndromes, the pollination biology of Paphiopedilum dianthum was examined. This species
shares a close phylogenetic relationship, similar habit, and a recognizable syndrome of floral
features (including helmet-shaped labellum, big dorsal sepal, and black warts or hairs on
petals) with other brood-site deceptive Paphiopedilum species. According to the pollination
syndrome concept, P. dianthum would be pollinated by hoverflies and attract pollinators with
brood-site deception. Results were consistent with this prediction. Paphiopedilum dianthum
was mainly pollinated by female hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus), and these flies were
indeed lured by the false brood-site on the orchid flower. It is suggested that the pollination
syndrome may be correlated with pollination selective pressure, but not simply with pollinator
species, and that accurate prediction requires consideration of all factors influencing floral
characters, including habit and evolutionary history.

Key words: pollination syndrome, Paphiopedilum, selection pressure, pollinator, phylogeny,

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