Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film

Date:
January 12, 2010
Source:
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Summary:
A researcher studying how the orchid genus Angraecum has adapted to different pollinators on Reunion Island has used motion sensitive night cameras to capture the first known occurrence of a cricket functioning as a pollinator of flowering plants.

The raspy cricket (Glomeremus sp) carrying pollen on its head.
Credit: Michenau and Fournel

An orchid researcher based on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and collaborating with researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) has used motion sensitive night cameras to capture the first known occurrence of a cricket functioning as a pollinator of flowering plants. Not only is this the first time this behaviour has been documented in a member of the Orthoptera order of insects -- who are better known for eating plants -- but the 'raspy cricket' is also entirely new to science.

Related Articles


The discovery is revealed in a paper published in Annals of Botany.

In 2008 Claire Micheneau, a RBG Kew-associated PhD student studying how the epiphytic orchid genus Angraecum has adapted to different pollinators on Reunion Island, and Jacques Fournel, her collaborator, shot the remarkable footage. It shows a raspy cricket (Glomeremus sp) carrying pollen on its head as it retreats from the greenish-white flowers of Angraecum cadetii.

The genus Angraecum is best known for Darwin's study of the comet orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale of Madagascar, and his hypothesis that it was pollinated by a bizarre, long-tongued moth pollinator -- a theory that was later proved to be true many years after his death.

Says Claire Micheneau, "We knew from monitoring pollen content in the flowers that pollination was taking place. However, we did not observe it during the day. That's why we rigged up a night camera and caught this raspy cricket in action. Watching the footage for the first time, and realising that we had filmed a truly surprising shift in the pollination of Angraecum, a genus that is mainly specialised for moth pollination, was thrilling.

"The moths that are the main Angraecum pollinators on Madagascar are not found on Reunion and until we started our research the pollination of this genus on Reunion had always been an open question."

Micheneau's research also revealed that two other species of Reunion Island Angraecum orchids (A. bracteosum and A. striatum) are pollinated by two species of small white eye songbirds (Zosterops borbonicus and Zosterops olivaceus).

She continues, "My studies have shown that the raspy cricket is also a surprisingly efficient pollinator with higher rates of pollination and fruit set in Angraecum cadetii than those recorded in its bird-pollinated sister-species." (1)

There is a close match in size between the raspy cricket's head and Angraecum cadetii's nectar-spur opening (2). These wingless raspy crickets reach the flowers by climbing up the leaves of the orchid or jumping across from neighbouring plants. They use long very long antenna to explore their surroundings.

Just why the raspy cricket developed a taste for orchid nectar is still a key question for Micheneau. "Although crickets are typically omnivorous and eat both plant material and other insects, we think the raspy cricket has evolved to eat nectar to compensate for the general scarcity of other insects on Reunion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Claire Micheneau, Jacques Fournel, Ben H. Warren, Sylvain Hugel, Anne Gauvin-Bialecki, Thierry Pailler, Dominique Strasberg, and Mark W. Chase. Orthoptera, a new order of pollinator. Annals of Botany, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcp299

Cite This Page:

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. "First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112085514.htm>.
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. (2010, January 12). First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112085514.htm
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. "First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112085514.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins