"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Fungi-eating plants and bees work together to breed.

Fungi-eating orchids were found for the primary time to supply their flowers to coke-eating fruit flies in exchange for pollination, the primary evidence of nursery pollination in orchids. This unique relationship between plants and animals indicates an evolutionary transition towards mutualism.

Orchids are known to trick their pollinators into visiting flowers by mimicking food sources, breeding grounds and even mates without actually offering anything in return. Choke-eating, non-photosynthetic orchid species are not any different: to draw fruit flies (spp.), plants typically emit odors much like their normal food regimen of fermented fruit or decaying mushrooms. . Fruit flies get stuck in flowers, stay there for some time and get pollen on their backs which they then transfer to other plants of the identical species. Thus, this deceptive relationship only provides advantages to 1 partner.

Kobe University plant biologist SUETSUGU Kenji, an authority on these orchids, noticed that one particular species of the genus has particularly fleshy petals that disintegrate and fall off just a few days after pollination. He decided to analyze these plants seeking the primary example of orchids involved in “nursery pollination,” a plant that gives a breeding ground for its pollinator. And indeed, in research now published within the journal, he explains that fruit flies often lay their eggs in plant flowers and that their larvae can fully turn into adult flies in that environment.

Suetsugu says: “The most interesting aspect is that, contrary to its common name as a 'fruit' bee, a species that specializes in feeding on mushrooms, mainly nests in decaying flowers. -Photosynthetic orchids that feed on fungi, these non-photosynthetic orchids often resemble the fungi they assimilate, making the old adage 'you are what you eat'. ' As a plant that feeds on mushrooms, it likely tastes like mushrooms, making it a prime target for the mushroom-specific fruit fly.” The discovery is important since it uncovers a brand new form of nursery pollination system, one which goes beyond the deceptive strategies commonly present in the genus.

The Kobe University researchers further indicate that this relationship is neither obligate nor specific, meaning that fruit flies also lay fully developed eggs on the fungus. Thus, this finding may represent an example of a transition from an illusory relationship to a mutualistic one suggested by two aspects: the lower cost of the plant, since petals are not any longer needed after pollination; And a detailed relationship with it often uses a deceptive strategy without providing a nursery.

Suetsugu concluded: “This study represents the first evidence of nursery pollination in orchids, which include about 30,000 species, and are the most diverse plant group in the world. Understanding the nature of plants simply “How pollinators can offer real benefits somewhat than deception can influence broader studies of plant-animal interactions and their evolutionary dynamics.”