From Darwin to the Present Day
Darwin compared cross- and self-pollination in two Ophrys species but never saw insects visiting the flowers or dispersing their pollinaria (see Chapter 1). Early in the 20th century, observers noted that these flowers mimicked the bodies of female insects and were pollinated exclusively by males of appropriate species (see also Chapters 4-6). Bertil Kullenberg (1913-2007) pioneered studies on the adaptive significance of structures on the surfaces of the flowers, including pigmentation patterns, scent molecules, and epidermal morphology. Field and lab studies continue to reveal evolutionary pathways within this complicated, old world genus.
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