Ophrys orchid which mimics a bee

Ophrys orchid which mimics a bee

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Credit: CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Wild orchid Ophrys scolopax which mimics a bee. The labellum part of this orchid flower imitates in shape, colour and smell, the female long-horned bee Eucera longicornis. Male bees are sexually attracted to the flower and mount it. In the pro- cess of bee movements, the head of Eucera brushes against "pollinaria" of the flower (double yellow structure in flower centre) and these pollen sacs are released onto the bee's head. In this way the bee transfers pollen to another orchid and acts as pollinator. The orchid-bee attraction occurs at a time when female Eucera bees are not yet born, and the male has no choice but to visit this orchid.

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Keywords: angiosperm, angiosperms, botany, flower, horned bee, mimicry, nature, ophrys, ophrys scolopax, orchid, orchids, plant, type, wild flowers

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