Research papers


, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 39-45

First online:

Form-specific fragances fromOphrys insectifera L. (Orchidaceae) attract species of different pollinator genera. Evidence of sympatric speciation?

  • Anna-Karin Borg-KarlsonAffiliated withDepartment of Organic Chemistry, The Royal Institute of TechnologyEcological Research Station of Uppsala University
  • , Inga GrothAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Ecology, Gothenburg UniversityEcological Research Station of Uppsala University
  • , Lennart ÅgrenAffiliated withEcological Research Station of Uppsala University
  • , Bertil KullenbergAffiliated withEcological Research Station of Uppsala University

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Two closely related forms ofOphrys insectifera were observed in the field to attract different pollinator species selectively.O. i. ssp.insectifera attracted males of two species ofArgogorytes (Sphecidae, Hymenoptera Aculeata) andO. i. ssp.aymoninii attractedAndrena combinata males (Andrenidae, Apoidea, Hymenoptera Aculeata). A third form,O. aff.i. ssp.insectifera, attracted none of these three species. Volatile compounds from flowers and inflorescences of the three forms (originating from Öland, Sweden, and Aveyron, France) were collected, using entrainment, enfleurage, and solvent extraction techniques, and identified by gas chromatography — mass spectrometry. Scent differences between the three forms were confirmed in the amounts of aliphatic hydrocarbons (C11–C19), methyl esters (C14–C18), short chain aliphatic 1-alcohols (C6–C12), and monoterpene alcohols (C10).

Key words

pollination semiochemicals attractants aliphatic alcohols aliphatic hydrocarbons aliphatic methyl esters linalool Hymenoptera Aculeata Andrena Argogorytes Orchidaceae Ophrys Osmia