The Elbow Orchid takes advantage of the male Thynnine wasp by producing a scent similar to the female wasp.

He is lured to the flower and sees the labellum which bears some resemblance to a female wasp (and they say love is blind).

The successful wasp may dart in and try to fly off with his 'new love'.

As the wasp lifts the decoy, the labellum swings up on its hinged attachment and hurls him into the column.  (see photo below)

The insect is more or less horizontal with the ground and his beating wings have been trapped by the column's hooked appendages which fit neatly around his body.  (see photo above)

After colliding with this part of the flower, he (not surprisingly) releases the decoy and tries to escape.

When he recovers his dignity, frees his wings and flies off, he may be carrying with him a pollen package glued to his thorax.

Should he be fooled into grabbing another luring female decoy, he will crash against the orchid's column thus transferring pollen.  (see photo right)


Index Next Page