Flower Scent of Floral Oil-Producing Lysimachia punctata as Attractant for the Oil-Bee Macropis fulvipes
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Most flowers offer nectar and/or pollen as a reward for pollinators. However, some plants are known to produce mostly fatty oil in the flowers, instead of nectar. This oil is exclusively collected by specialized oil-bees, the pollinators of the oil-plants. Little is known about chemical communication in this pollination system, especially how the bees find their hosts. We collected the floral and vegetative scent emitted by oil-producing Lysimachia punctata by dynamic headspace, and identified the compounds by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Thirty-six compounds were detected in the scent samples, several of which were flower-specific. Pentane extracts of flowers and floral oil were tested on Macropis fulvipes in a biotest. Flower and oil extracts attracted the bees, and some of the compounds identified are seldom found in the floral scent of other plants; these may have been responsible for the attraction of the bees.
KeywordsFloral and vegetative scent Dynamic headspace GC-MS Oil-flower oil-bee pollination system Lysimachia punctata Macropis fulvipes Flight cage Biotest
We are grateful to Gregor Aas for permission to build the flight cage in a green house at the Ecological–Botanical Garden (EBG), and to use L. punctata plants growing in the EBG for this study. Peter Hartmann helped collect bees for the flight cage. Karlheinz Seifert and Thomas Gedig provided a standard 1-hydroxy-1-phenyl-2-propanone. Joseph Woodring, Gregor Aas, and two anonymous reviewers improved earlier versions of this manuscript.
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