DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A euglossine bee visits a wasp orchid, Gongora quinquinervis. Gongora flowers emit a powerful resinous perfume which attracts male euglossine bees. They brush the surface of the flower with the tufts of hair on their forelegs as they hover, gathering the perfume droplets which are then tranferred to a container on the tibiae of their hind legs. This scent is used by the bee as a pheremone or sex attractant. The orchid benefits from the relationship because the bee may inadvertantly pick up a pollinium, a bundle of pollen grains, and transport it to the next orchid it visits.
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