Flies and Flowers II: Floral Attractants and Rewards

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Woodcock, T., Larson, B., Kevan, P., Inouye, D., Lunau K.
Journal:Journal of Pollination Ecology

This paper comprises Part II of a review of flower visitation and pollination by Diptera (myiophily or myophily). While Part I examined taxonomic diversity of anthophilous flies, here we consider the rewards and attractants used by flowers to procure visits by flies, and their importance in the lives of flies. Food rewards such as pollen and nectar are the primary reasons for flower visits, but there is also a diversity of non-nutritive rewards such as brood sites, shelter, and places of congregation. Floral attractants are the visual and chemical cues used by Diptera to locate flowers and the rewards that they offer, and we show how they act to increase the probability of floral visitation. Lastly, we discuss the various ways in which flowers manipulate the behaviour of flies, deceiving them to visit flowers that do not provide the advertised reward, and how some flies illegitimately remove floral rewards without causing pollination. Our review demonstrates that myiophily is a syndrome corresponding to elements of anatomical, behavioural and physiological adaptations of flower-visiting Diptera. The bewildering diversity of anthophilous Diptera and of the floral attractants and rewards to which they respond allows for only broad generalizations on myiophily and points to the need for more investigation. Ecological relationships between flies and flowers are critical to the survival of each group in many habitats. We require greater understanding of the significance of flies in pollination, especially in the face of recent pollinator declines.

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