The list of pollinators becomes shorter as the labellum becomes more individulised.

Because of this, the pollen is more likely to be transferred to another orchid of the same species rather than a wasted effort - not to mention pollen.

There is nothing like a visual cue such as the 'landing strip' of the Small Tongue or Fringed Hare Orchid.

Much as it is beautiful, in each example, the pollinators' interest is piqued by the kairomone (a copy of the female wasp's pheromone).

Cryptostylis:  The male Ichneumon wasp (see photo left), when attempting to mate with the labellum, will turn around and back into the flower's column area probing with its tail thus making contact with the pollen (see photo upper left).


Leporella:  The winged male of the stinging jumper ant, Myrmecia, crawls onto the labellum (see photo upper right), lays across it and probes the fringed edges with its abdomen.  This action triggers the sensitive labellum to spring upwards squeezing the insect against the column where it must wiggle to free itself (hopefully carrying pollen).

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