Orchid-pollinating cricket discovered on Reunion

This video is called Wild orchid wasp mimic – David Attenborough – BBC.

From Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London:

Cricket as an orchid pollinator

An orchid researcher based on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and collaborating with scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) has used motion sensitive night cameras to capture the first known occurrence of a cricket functioning as a pollinator of flowering plants. Not only is this the first time this behaviour has been documented in a member of the Orthoptera order of insects who are better known for eating plants but the ‘raspy cricket‘ is also entirely new to science. The discovery is revealed in a paper published recently (12 January 2010) in Annals of Botany.

In 2008 Claire Micheneau, a RBG Kew-associated PhD student studying how the epiphytic orchid genus Angraecum has adapted to different pollinators on Reunion Island, and Jacques Fournel, her collaborator, shot the remarkable footage. It shows a raspy cricket (Glomeremus sp) carrying pollen on its head as it retreats from the greenish-white flowers of Angraecum cadetii.

The genus Angraecum is best known for Darwin’s study of the comet orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale of Madagascar, and his hypothesis that it was pollinated by a bizarre, long-tongued moth pollinator a theory that was later proved to be true a number of years after his death.

See also here, with video.

Plant-wasp pollinator relationship: here.

The first fossil spider cricket (Orthoptera: Gryllidae: Phalangopsinae): 20 million years of troglobiomorphosis or exaptation in the dark? Here.

The Silent Mass Extinction of Insect Herbivores in Biodiversity Hotspots: here.

Dutch orchids in winter: here.

In this study we provide the first genetic data on the critically endangered species the Reunion cuckoo-shrike Coracina newtoni: here.

Pollinating birds and mammals declining, reveals first global assessment of trends in the status of pollinators: here.

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8 thoughts on “Orchid-pollinating cricket discovered on Reunion

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