Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, November 23, 2009

More odd little things which happen around Robertson

My very first post on this Blog involved the Flying Duck Orchid, (Caleana major). It was called "Odd little things which grow around Robertson".

Two weeks ago, at the end of the ANOS (Illawarra Branch) field trip, several of us found this little Orchid. If you look at the "head" of the flower, and see the "duck head" - then the mystery of the name will reveal itself.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Not only was the Orchid in flower., but there was a Mosquito attempting to pollinate the flower - hence the slight variant in title from the original Blog Posting.

In fact the Mozzie was too small to trigger the labellum of the Orchid (in this case the "head of the duck") to snap closed. You can see the pollinia are still in place, at the very base of the flower. But clearly the Mozzie had the "right idea".
Click on the photo to see the Mosquito and the flower parts - in detail
For those of you not familiar with pollination in many of Australian Orchids, the plants have evolved a system of emitting highly specialised scents which mimic the pheromones produced by certain female insects. This drives male insects (of the right species) into a sexual frenzy, and the insects attempt to "mate" with the flower. This process is called "pseudo-copulation". It is well reported, in the world of Orchids and insects.

This link will take you to other photos of this species, one with a flower spider in a web spun across the open section of the flower - obviously waiting for an insect such as this one, to arrive.


Snail said...

That's a lovely shot of the mosquito.

I wonder if there'd be a market for trios of wall-mounted duck orchids? Just a thought. I'll go now.

mick said...

Fantastic! The first photo shows very clearly why it is named the Flying Duck Orchid. I went and looked at your earlier posts and photos of this flower - very interesting. I think you might have changed cameras or lens since then?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Yes One always has to take the head and side-on view of this Orchid, for from the front it looks nothing like a Flying Duck.
Observation skills 10/10 Mick.
Old lens vs Macro with Teleconverter.
Same camera.
Glad you went back to the other photos too. The image with the spider inside the flower is one of my favourites, but in truth I could barely see the spider out in the field, and only knew what I had afterwards.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
Is there a ceramic artist out there who makes Mozzies to go with the Flying Ducks?