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Goodrich, Katherine [1], Ellis, Inesha [2], DeHaas, Allison [3], Senski, Rebecca [4], Savage, Jade [5].

Flowers, flies, and fermentation – the pollination ecology of Asimina triloba (Annonaceae).

Many flowering plants use diverse combinations of floral color, scent, pattern, and shape to attract and behaviorally-manipulate animal pollinators. In many cases, these aspects of floral phenotype honestly signal the presence of floral rewards sought by the animal pollinators; in rarer instances, floral signals are deceptive, and visiting pollinators do not find the reward they seek. We are investigating the pollination ecology of Asimina triloba. In particular, we investigate the potential role of floral mimicry in the pollination ecology of this species. Flowers of Asimina triloba are small, maroon, and yeasty-smelling. The pungent, yeasty floral scent is unusual among angiosperms, and it is likely a key attractant for the fermentation-associated insect taxa we report as floral visitors and pollinators, such as Drosophilidae and Muscidae. We used traps baited with fermenting fruit pulp to examine the overlap in fly communities attracted to the flowers and to fermenting baits. We also identified several naturally-occurring fermenting substrates including fruits, sap, and dung. We have documented the volatile odor profiles from fermenting fruit baits and from naturally-occurring fermenting substrates, and we compare these odor blends to the floral scent chemistry of Asimina triloba. Finally, we continue to investigate the behavioral ecology of the identified fly taxa to better determine the importance of fermenting substrates in their life histories (as food source, mating site, or oviposition site). Ultimately, this will help us better understand the importance of yeasty floral scent for these flowers in successful pollination, and the degree of deception (and potential cost) to the pollinators involved.

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1 - Widener University, Department Of Biology, 1 University Place., Chester, PA, 19013, United States
2 - 1470 Providence Ave, Chester, 19013, United States
3 - 225 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD, 21202, United States
4 - 11722 DiMarco Drive, Philadelphia, PA, 19154, United States
5 - Bishop's University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2600 College St., Sherbrooke, QC, J1M IZ7, Canada

floral mimicry
floral scent

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: PHYT2, Phyochemistry II
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 1:45 PM(EDT)
Number: PHYT2006
Abstract ID:669
Candidate for Awards:None

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