Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

Goodrich, Katherine [1], Senski, Rebecca [2], Ellis, Inesha [3], DeHaas, Allison [3].

Floral mimicry in pawpaw (Asimina triloba): progress towards identifying a relevant model.

Pollination systems involving floral phenotypes that mimic a non-floral resource have captured the interest of field biologists for centuries.  Classic examples include flowers that mimic the scent, color, texture and presentation of a dead mammal or a sexually-receptive female insect.  We are interested in the yeasty-smelling maroon flowers of pawpaw (Asimina triloba), which bloom in temperate hardwood forests of eastern North America in early spring.  The floral volatile chemistry is dominated by compounds released from fermenting yeasts, such as ethanol, ethyl acetate, acetoin, and 2,3-butanediol.  The flies identified as floral visitors are typically fermentation-loving rather than anthophilous species.  These two pieces of evidence suggest that the pollination strategy of pawpaw may be based on floral mimicry of a fermenting substrate.  However, to determine whether this pollination system is actual floral mimicry, we need to identify an ecologically relevant model that is sought by the pollinators and mimicked by the flowers.  Although the floral scent is easily likened to fermenting fruit by human observers, few if any fruits are found in the surrounding environment in early spring.  We have undertaken a broad investigation of the scent profiles and other characteristics (color, presentation, duration, frequency) of possible fermenting substrates in the local environment, comparing them to flowers of pawpaw.  Here we present volatile (scent) data for several potential ecological models and compare them with the floral scent from pawpaw using multivariate analyses.  We also present our preliminary work identifying fly taxa associated with these substrates and comparing them to the fly taxa visiting pawpaw flowers.

1 - Widener University, Department Of Biology, 1 University Place., Chester, PA, 19013, United States
2 - 11722 DiMarco Drive, Philadelphia, PA, 19154, United States
3 - Widener University, Department of Biology, Chester, PA, 19013, USA

Floral mimicry
fermentation volatiles
fly pollination

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PRP004
Abstract ID:424
Candidate for Awards:None

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