Pollination by nectar-foraging thynnine wasps in the endangered Caladenia arenaria and Caladenia concolor (Orchidaceae)

Noushka Reiter, Björn Bohman, Marc Freestone, Graham R. Brown, Ryan D. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Prior to undertaking conservation translocations of plants with specialised pollination systems, it is important to ensure the presence of pollinators at recipient sites. Here, for two threatened species, Caladenia concolor Fitzg. and Caladenia arenaria Fitzg. (Orchidaceae), we determine (i) the pollination strategy used, (ii) which floral visitors are involved in pollination, and (iii) whether the pollinator species are present at potential translocation sites. For both orchid species, pollination was primarily achieved by nectar-foraging thynnine wasps, with a single species responsible for pollination in C. concolor, whereas C. arenaria utilised at least two species to achieve pollination. Both orchid species secreted meagre quantities of sucrose on the upper surface of the labellum. Visits to C. concolor occurred primarily in the late afternoon, with some wasps perching on the flowers overnight. Surveys revealed that pollinators were present at all extant populations and most potential translocation sites for both orchids. The specialisation on one pollinator species in C. concolor means that the distribution of the pollinator needs to be considered for conservation translocations. With C. arenaria, the risk of hybridisation with other Caladenia that are known to share one of its pollinator species needs to be taken into account when selecting translocation sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-500
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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