Cricket surprise pollinator of orchids

Jan. 12, 2010 at 1:26 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Motion-sensitive night cameras for the first time have captured a cricket pollinating orchids, British researchers said.

The raspy cricket Glomeremus was filmed removing pollen from an Angraecum cadetii orchid and carrying it to another on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, said Claire Micheneau, a researcher with the Royal Botanic Gardens in London.

The raspy cricket's presence was a surprise because the greenish-white orchid on other islands is pollinated by moths, Micheneau said in an issue of the Annals of Botany published Tuesday.

"Realizing that we had filmed a truly surprising shift in the pollination of Angraecum, a genus that is mainly specialized for moth pollination, was thrilling," she said.

Micheneau's research also revealed two other species of Reunion Island Angraecum orchids -- A. bracteosum and A. striatum -- were pollinated by two species of small white eye songbirds, Zosterops borbonicus and Zosterops olivaceus.

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