—Orchid's Deception Lures Pollinators “Flowers trick hornets into becoming pollinators by emitting an eicosenol, which mimics the scent of the insects' honeybee prey” Orchids are lovely, but they’re also devious. Last year, researchers reported that European orchids emit a scent similar to that of female bees to attract male bees to pollinate the flowers (C&EN, June 2, 2008, page 15). Now, researchers in Germany and China have found that Dendrobium sinense, an orchid found on the Chinese island of Hainan, lures pollinators with a more aggressive ruse (Curr. Biol., DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.06.067). Hornets are tricked into pollinating the Chinese orchid flowers, according to Manfred Ayasse of Germany’s University of Ulm and colleagues.
by Sophie L. Rovner |
August 17, 2009