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Paph kolopakingii - lots of pictures

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Bob Wellenstein

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Several members of this section appear to have nectaries on their dorsal sepals, more noticably on the posterior but also sometimes on the anterior surface and it appears also along the petals. The drops of "nectar" are small on kolopakingii but with high humidity will quickly grow sooty mold.



They also develop, and I am determined to try to follow this each year but yet havent, an area of small white spots around the upper surface of the pouch (where better to lure an insect to fall in) that we presume to be insect egg mimics. Whether these are to encourage an insect that this is a good spot to lay eggs because others of the species have, or to lay eggs because the hatch from these will be food for its larvae, who knows.



These spots develop and increaseas the flowers age, as evidenced by the upper part of the inflorescence here:



Another species that does both of these is Paph. adductum, in fact adductum produces really large amounts of nectar on the back of the dorsal, but not usually as much of the white "eggs":



And Paph supardii also does this. The "eggs" that can build up right on the rim of Paph supardii will stand straight up from the very edge of the rim a couple of mm high (mimicking a different species?) This one is at the early stages, but if you look closely at the dorsal those bluish circles are where the nectaries are, and in this "case" the eggs appear on the dorsal in addition to the pouch.




SO, certainly looks like deception via the "eggs", but the solution produced by the nectaries almost certainly contains sugar as it cultures sooty mold so well, so maybe some of our slippers offer a reward also. And...

To head to another slipper genus that supposedly doesn't reward (and maybe indeed doesn't) has anyone taken the time to smell a Cyp acaule flower. There is a faint sweet scent. I never noticed anything else unusual about acaule, in spite of enjoying seeing literally thousands of them in flower each year, until last year when I found this in the wild near us:



Although clearly a true album form, close exam showed a faint red color forming on the ovary and around the pollenia and to a lesser extent on the staminodal shield. Pulled out a loop and this is what we saw:



I would have never noticed this in a normal color form, but the fine hairs were exuding very tiny drops of fluid, that presumable contained something that was oxidizing (the level of red increased with time) in the air. Is this an offering, or the opposite and a repellant - one would thing the staminodal shield would not be a place to put a repellant.

Nectar for thought

All photos copyright :poke:
 
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kentuckiense

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Thank you for this post. I really hope some of these ideas can be pursued and studied more.

What is your opinion of the 'hairs' found on the sides of many staminodes in Polyantha? I believe in 'Slipper Orchids of Borneo' Cribb hypothesizes that rothschildianum utilizes said 'hairs' for brood site deception. Would you agree that your observations contribute to the idea that many members of Polyantha practice brood site deception?

This is one heck of a 5-star post in my book. Thank you.
 

Heather

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Excellent post! I had never heard that theory of the "egg" mimicry. I have had those on several of my plants, noteably philippinense and its' hybrids. My Mt. Toro recently had them as well, I believe. I will have to see if they show up in any of the images I took.

Thank you!!
 
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Bob Wellenstein

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Phil is one sharp cookie, and yes, I do think this adds weight to that hypothesis. So are you going to be looking at all the Cyps with a loop now and collecting the sap and analyzing it? That's what I hope this sort of post does.

Here's Paph. kolopakingii's staminode side:

 

kentuckiense

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Bob Wellenstein said:
So are you going to be looking at all the Cyps with a loop now and collecting the sap and analyzing it?
As for the loop, yes, I certainly will! As for sap collection, it sounds like an interesting research idea for this spring.
 
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Mahon

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Bob,

I must have read this on your site before, as I remember seeing the red tipped hairs on the staminodial shield of Cyp. acaule f. alba... very interesting, I never thought that the margin on the back of the dorsal sepal on these strap leaved species would be a nectarial gland... makes me wonder what other orchids also do this... I notice on Cattleya species, there are drops of "nectar" on the petals (including labellum), and sepals of the flower, and especially around the adnation of the sepals and the ovary/labellum... I would normally say sap, but its hard to compare because of maple syrup... it must contain sugars in these droplets, as it tastes rather sweet...

-PM
 
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rad

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very interesting!

and those photos are excellent. do you use a digital to get those close-ups?
 

SlipperFan

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How interesting. I've noticed sugary spots along the leaves and influorescences of several kinds of orchids, including Phals. Is this all the same thing?
 

silence882

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Rather than being 'eggs', could the spots and staminodes be mimicking aphid colonies?

Atwood (1985) studied rothschildianum pollination in situ and discovered that syrphid flies were its pollinator. The syrphid flies lay their eggs on aphid colonies, which the larva then eat after hatching. Atwood hypothesized that the hairs on the rothschildianum staminode were meant to mimic the aphid colonies (brood-site deception) so that a fly would land and attempt to lay eggs, hopefully falling into the pouch in the process. He had pictures of roth staminodes with fly eggs on them.

supardii and kolo, like roth, are from Borneo and all 3 are close relatives. It seems like the same technique roth uses could work for supardii and kolo.

--Stephen

p.s. I've got a pdf of the 1985 Atwood article from National Geographic Research if anyone would like a copy
 
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Bob Wellenstein

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That's certainly as plausable as eggs. I've not noticed this on roths, but then again I hadn't on Paph. philippinense either, but after Heather mentioned I went and looked at several, and indeed there was a very small bit right at the rim, nothing like these others but still clearly the same thing. Checked several stoneis and a sanderianum that were open and nothing on them
 
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Bob Wellenstein

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Rad - yes, but totally inappropriate lenses. Most were shot with the 28-80 that they give you with the Canon digital rebel. I've been lusting over some good lenses and treated myself, they just arrived this afternoon, so hopefully he shots will get better.

Slipperan, I really don't know the purpose of the sugar exudate on Phals, so can't compare. These on the Paphs interest me because they are on the flowers, so they bring into question if pollination is by deception only. And I've tried a few years now to get others interested in this, so maybe some undergraduate somewhere, or enterprising individual would investigate further.
 

Heather

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Bob Wellenstein said:
That's certainly as plausable as eggs. I've not noticed this on roths, but then again I hadn't on Paph. philippinense either, but after Heather mentioned I went and looked at several, and indeed there was a very small bit right at the rim, nothing like these others but still clearly the same thing. Checked several stoneis and a sanderianum that were open and nothing on them
Sorry, I checked my photos and nothing was close enough to show what I had seen. Had I known earlier I would have taken better photos.

I know sanderianum has some sort of bumps on the pouch also - my Michael Koopowitz inherited them, but they were harder and more "sugar-crystal" like than these white powderey "egg-like" things Bob is speaking of.

I pay a lot of attention to this sort of thing and wonder but I'm no grad student....(ZACH!)
 

kentuckiense

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Heather said:
I pay a lot of attention to this sort of thing and wonder but I'm no grad student....(ZACH!)
I'm just an undergrad... If you want a grad student, better talk to Chris(cdub)!
 
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