THYNNINE WASPS - FACT

Many male wasps, one species of ant and a species of saw fly are exploited by orchids.

There are hundreds of Thynnine Wasp species in Australia and because of this, it is an ideal subject to use in a basic explanation of deceit by orchids.

As they fly encopula, the male gathers nectar from flowering nearby plants and feeds the female. (see flower example lower left photos)

How ironic the example, as shown in the photo below, has chosen an orchid bud to sit on.

The female lacks wings - she crawls up a stem, secures an elevated perch and then releases a sex pheromone from glands in her head.

At the same time, males are flying about in search for the odour of a receptive female.

When the right pheromone is found, they fly in a zigzag fashion upwind until they spot the calling female.

The male then dives onto the back of the female, sweeping her off her feet and carries her away for a lengthy copulation.

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