Chemical ecology of obligate pollination mutualisms: testing the 'private channel' hypothesis in the Breynia-Epicephala association.
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: The New Phytologist
Förlag: Wiley InterScience
New Phytologist (2010) Summary *Obligate mutualisms involving actively pollinating seed predators are among the most remarkable insect-plant relationships known, yet almost nothing is known about the chemistry of pollinator attraction in these systems. The extreme species specificity observed in these mutualisms may be maintained by specific chemical compounds through 'private channels'. Here, we tested this hypothesis using the monoecious Breynia vitis-idaea and its host-specific Epicephala pollinator as a model. *Headspace samples were collected from both male and female flowers of the host. Gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD), coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and olfactometer bioassays were used to identify the floral compounds acting as the pollinator attractant. *Male and female flowers of B. vitis-idaea produced similar sets of general floral compounds, but in different ratios, and male flowers emitted significantly more scent than female flowers. A mixture of 2-phenylethyl alcohol and 2-phenylacetonitrile, the two most abundant compounds in male flowers, was as attractive to female moths as the male flower sample, although the individual compounds were slightly less attractive when tested separately. *Data on the floral scent signals mediating obligate mutualisms involving active pollination are still very limited. We show that system-specific chemistry is not necessary for efficient host location by exclusive pollinators in these tightly coevolved mutualisms.
- Biological Sciences
- Chemical ecology of obligate pollination mutualisms
- Pheromone Group
- ISSN: 1469-8137