The Spider Orchid Caladenia crebra Produces Sulfurous Pheromone Mimics to Attract its Male Wasp Pollinator

Bjorn Bohman, Ryan D. Phillips, Gavin R. Flematti, Russell A. Barrow, Rod Peakall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
385 Downloads (Pure)


One of the most intriguing natural observations is the pollination of orchids by sexual deception. Chemicals underpin this interaction between the orchid and its sexually attracted male insect pollinator, with the signaling compounds involved, called semiochemicals, predicted to mimic the chemical composition of the sex pheromone. We identified floral semiochemicals from Caladenia (spider orchids) for the first time. We further demonstrate that C. crebra attracts its single pollinator species with a unique system of (methylthio)phenols, three of which are new natural products. Furthermore, as predicted, the same compounds constitute the sex pheromone of the pollinator, the thynnine wasp Campylothynnus flavopictus, representing the first occurrence of sulfurous sex pheromones in Hymenoptera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8455-8458
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017


Cite this