Biotic Resource Needs of Specialist Orchid Pollinators

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Authors:Pemberton, R.W.
Journal:The Botanical Review
Keywords:Conservation, Life Histories, Orchids, Pollination, Resource Needs

Orchid pollinators have highly varied life histories with complex biotic resource requirements, about which we have limited knowledge. Among the specialist orchid pollinators are insect predators and parasitoids with specific prey types such as aphids and subterranean scarab larvae; oligolectic bees that collect pollen from limited sources such as bellflowers; euglossine bees and butterflies that collect particular plant chemicals for reproduction and self defense; oil-collecting bees that provision their brood cells with floral oils from a few plants; bees that collect rare floral resins to construct their nest and brood cells; moths and butterflies that require specific larval host plants; mosquitos and horse flies that need blood; and fungus gnats and carrion flies tied to fungi and dead animals. Loss of critical biotic resources and relationships can reduce the abundance of orchid pollinators and/or their effectiveness. Protection of large, plant rich, pesticide-free orchid habitats is key to conserving essential pollinator resources.

Refereed Designation:Refereed
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