, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 37–42

Insect preference for symmetrical artificial flowers

  • A. P. Møller
  • G. Sorci

DOI: 10.1007/s004420050417

Cite this article as:
Møller, A. & Sorci, G. Oecologia (1998) 114: 37. doi:10.1007/s004420050417


An insect preference for floral symmetry may be maintained because plants with symmetrical flowers, which are able to control developmental processes under given environmental conditions, also are able to provide more pollinator rewards than plants with asymmetrical flowers. Alternatively, insects may have an inherent preference for symmetrical structures and thereby impose selection for the maintenance of symmetry in flowers even in the absence of any pollinator rewards. We tested for an insect preference for radially symmetrical flowers by using horizontally placed units of four circular coloured flower models varying in size and symmetry. The shape and colour of the model flowers did not resemble any naturally occurring flowers in the environment. Insects and Hymenoptera, respectively (five species of Diptera and one species of Coleoptera) that visited the flower models clearly preferred symmetrical models over asymmetrical ones, and the ranking of visits to the models reflected a preference for large, symmetrical flowers. These results provide evidence for a preference for symmetrical flower models, even in the absence of pollinator rewards.

Key words Developmental stabilityFluctuating asymmetryPlant sexual selectionPollinator rewards

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. P. Møller
    • 1
  • G. Sorci
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d'Ecologie, CNRS URA 258, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Bât. A, 7ème étage, 7 quai St. Bernard, Case 237, F-75252 Paris Cedex 05, France Fax: (+33) 1 44 27 35 16; e-mail: AMOLLER@HALL.SNV.JUSSIEU.FRFR