Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (2): 393-397, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.031

Potential pollinator of Vanda falcata (Orchidaceae): Theretra (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) hawkmoths are visitors of long spurred orchid

Kenji SUETSUGU1, Koji TANAKA2, Yudai OKUYAMA3, Tomohisa YUKAWA3
1 Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Nihonmatsu-cho, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan; e-mail: kenji.suetsugu@gmail.com
2 349 Yamamoto, Minami, Kokura, Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka 803-0264, Japan; e-mail: colobockle@m3.dion.ne.jp
3 Tsukuba Botanical Garden, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan; e-mails: yokuyama@kahaku.go.jp; yukawa@kahaku.go.jp

Vanda falcata is a species of orchid native to China, Korea and Japan. While it is arguably one of the most celebrated orchids in Japan there is no information on its pollinators. Although most species of the subtribe Aeridinae, to which V. falcata belongs, have a short spur, V. falcata has a long spur. The results of the current study provide strong evidence that V. falcata is pollinated by long-tongued hawkmoths (Theretra spp.), which indicates that the evolution of long spurs in V. falcata could be an adaptation to pollination by long-tongued moths.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Sphingidae, Theretra, Orchidaceae, Aeridinae, Vanda falcata, hawkmoth, orchid, pollinator

Received: August 26, 2014; Accepted: October 25, 2014; Prepublished online: January 22, 2015; Published: April 2, 2015

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