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Ceropegia sandersonii Mimics Attacked Honeybees to Attract Kleptoparasitic Flies for Pollination.

Heiduk, Annemarie and Brake, Irina and von Tschirnhaus, Michael and Göhl, Matthias and Jürgens, Andreas and Johnson, Steven D. and Meve, Ulrich and Dötterl, Stefan (2016):
Ceropegia sandersonii Mimics Attacked Honeybees to Attract Kleptoparasitic Flies for Pollination.
In: Current biology : CB, pp. 2787-2793, 26, (20), ISSN 1879-0445, [Article]

Abstract

Four to six percent of plants, distributed over different angiosperm families, entice pollinators by deception [1]. In these systems, chemical mimicry is often used as an efficient way to exploit the olfactory preferences of animals for the purpose of attracting them as pollinators [2,3]. Here, we report a very specific type of chemical mimicry of a food source. Ceropegia sandersonii (Apocynaceae), a deceptive South African plant with pitfall flowers, mimics attacked honeybees. We identified kleptoparasitic Desmometopa flies (Milichiidae) as the main pollinators of C. sandersonii. These flies are well known to feed on honeybees that are eaten by spiders, which we thus predicted as the model chemically mimicked by the plant. Indeed, we found that the floral scent of C. sandersonii is comparable to volatiles released from honeybees when under simulated attack. Moreover, many of these shared compounds elicited physiological responses in antennae of pollinating Desmometopa flies. A mixture of four compounds-geraniol, 2-heptanone, 2-nonanol, and (E)-2-octen-1-yl acetate-was highly attractive to the flies. We conclude that C. sandersonii is specialized on kleptoparasitic fly pollinators by deploying volatiles linked to the flies' food source, i.e., attacked and/or freshly killed honeybees. The blend of compounds emitted by C. sandersonii is unusual among flowering plants and lures kleptoparasitic flies into the trap flowers. This study describes a new example of how a plant can achieve pollination through chemical mimicry of the food sources of adult carnivorous animals.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2016
Creators: Heiduk, Annemarie and Brake, Irina and von Tschirnhaus, Michael and Göhl, Matthias and Jürgens, Andreas and Johnson, Steven D. and Meve, Ulrich and Dötterl, Stefan
Title: Ceropegia sandersonii Mimics Attacked Honeybees to Attract Kleptoparasitic Flies for Pollination.
Language: English
Abstract:

Four to six percent of plants, distributed over different angiosperm families, entice pollinators by deception [1]. In these systems, chemical mimicry is often used as an efficient way to exploit the olfactory preferences of animals for the purpose of attracting them as pollinators [2,3]. Here, we report a very specific type of chemical mimicry of a food source. Ceropegia sandersonii (Apocynaceae), a deceptive South African plant with pitfall flowers, mimics attacked honeybees. We identified kleptoparasitic Desmometopa flies (Milichiidae) as the main pollinators of C. sandersonii. These flies are well known to feed on honeybees that are eaten by spiders, which we thus predicted as the model chemically mimicked by the plant. Indeed, we found that the floral scent of C. sandersonii is comparable to volatiles released from honeybees when under simulated attack. Moreover, many of these shared compounds elicited physiological responses in antennae of pollinating Desmometopa flies. A mixture of four compounds-geraniol, 2-heptanone, 2-nonanol, and (E)-2-octen-1-yl acetate-was highly attractive to the flies. We conclude that C. sandersonii is specialized on kleptoparasitic fly pollinators by deploying volatiles linked to the flies' food source, i.e., attacked and/or freshly killed honeybees. The blend of compounds emitted by C. sandersonii is unusual among flowering plants and lures kleptoparasitic flies into the trap flowers. This study describes a new example of how a plant can achieve pollination through chemical mimicry of the food sources of adult carnivorous animals.

Journal or Publication Title: Current biology : CB
Volume: 26
Number: 20
Divisions: 10 Department of Biology
10 Department of Biology > Chemical Plant Ecology
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 06:20
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