I spend the whole long weekend searching Orchids in Belgium and Germanny. On monday I was verry lucky to withness a Beetle carrying the pollinia of Neottia ovata (Formerly: Listera ovata - Common twayblade / Grote Keverorchis), the species I showed in yesterdays image.
Orchids are insect-pollinated flowers, so they have some particular adaptations to attract different insects to carry theire pollinia.
This Beetle (Fam. Elateridae - click beetles) was drinking the nectar of the flower which is spread out on the lip in a long trail. You can see this nactar-trail in the two flowers in the right under corner of the image. This trail of nectar leads to a very tiny cup in the center of the flower, filled with a lot more of nectar. In this way the flower guides insects to the center of the flower. Right obove this little "necar-saloon" the pollinia of the flower are waiting ... You can see the yellow pollinia in the flower to the right of the flower with the beetle. When going up, the beetle bumps his head against the base of the pollinia. There is a little glue on the base of the pollinia. So when bumping his head, the beetle gets the pollina of the flower glued on its head. That is what can be seen in this picture. When going to another flower, the pollina will touch the stigma and real cross-pollination is done. So this picture shows a pollinator at work... A marvelous experience to look at ...
Image: Lanaye (B) - 24/05/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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