Diurnal butterfly pollination in the orchid Habenaria radiata

Authors


Abstract

Habenaria is one of the largest orchid genera, with its main centers of diversity in Brazil, eastern Asia and central and southern Africa. In spite of its diversity, the pollinators of few Habenaria spp. have been studied, while most published reports indicate that Habenaria spp. are mainly pollinated by moths. Here we report that the diurnal skipper Parnara guttata can be at least one of the pollinators of Habenaria radiata. Skippers have generally been thought of as nectar thieves, transferring few pollen grains. However, orchids transmit their pollen grains in large groups within pollinia. Such innovation can probably render the skipper a pollinator of H. radiata.

Ancillary