|In order to have a basic
understanding of the two 'key' players, the first approach is the orchid
plant and then followed by the insect/s involved. I am not a
biologist nor a botanist so most of what I have determined is from
in-the-field observation and application of common sense.
Unfortunately, when presenting such a complex mechanism, the separation of the two is nearly impossible.
Most of the examples have been found in Victoria but do relate to some species of other Australian States as well. After a recent trip to Western Australia, I am able to include some from the southwest area of Australia.
Fact: Using sexual deception of the male insect is known only in orchids from Europe and Australia.
1. With over 25,000 species, the orchid family contributes about 10% of the entire plant species.
2. All orchids have three petals and 3 sepals which, although found in other plants, is a distinguishing feature of an orchid flower.
3. Many orchids rely on a specific pollinator and this, combined with its bilateral symmetry, may contribute to the large number of species.
4. Bilateral symmetry implies that when the flower is cut in half (from top to bottom through the labellum) the two halves are mirror images.
5. Radial symmetry, as with daisy flowers, allows a mirror image to be produced regardless of the direction a division is applied.
6. The bilateral symmetry is created from the altered design of the third petal to form the labellum.