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Keywords:

  • deceptive pollination;
  • GC-MS;
  • head-space adsorption;
  • nitrogen-compounds;
  • nocturnal scent production;
  • oxygenated sesquiterpenes;
  • phalaenophily;
  • sphingophily

KNUDSEN, J. T. & TOLLSTEN, L., Trends in floral scent chemistry in pollination syndromes: floral scent composition in moth-pollinated taxa. Floral scent from 15 moth-pollinated species in nine families was collected by head-space adsorption. The chemical composition was determined by coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The typical floral scent of moth-pollinated flowers contains some acyclic terpene alcohols, their corresponding hydrocarbons, benzenoid alcohols and esters and small amounts of some nitrogen compounds. The floral scent composition of sphingophilous flowers can be distinguished from that of phalaenophilous flowers by the presence of oxygenated sesquiterpenes. The flowers of three of the studied species had the general appearance and floral scent composition of moth-pollinated flowers, but contained no nectar reward. These species probably rely on deceptive pollination by naive visitors, which are deceived by the similarity of the flowers' morphological and scent chemistry to that of rewarding moth flowers. The finding of similar or structurally closely related floral scent compounds in both temperate and tropical species from both the Old and New worlds suggests that floral scent composition has been selected by a specific group of pollinators, moths that have similar sensory preferences. The functions of floral scent in moth-pollinated flowers are discussed in relation to an often observed over-representation of male moth visitors.