The flowers of some orchid-flower plants attract dung beetle pollinators by imitating the scent of dung.

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“Lowiaceae, a family of the Zingiberales, comprise 11 species in
the single genus Orchidantha. Here we present the first report
on the pollination of Lowiaceae and describe a new system of
dung-beetle pollination from Sarawak, Borneo. Orchidantha
has a zygomorphic flower located just above the
ground. Observations revealed that the plant is visited
frequently and is pollinated by scarabaeid dung beetles,
mainly members of the genus Onthophagus. All four
species of Onthophagus collected on O. inouei have also
been caught using traps baited with dung or carrion in Borneo.
Onthophagus was presumably attracted to the dung-like odor
of the flower. Pollination of O. inouei is different from other
examples of beetle pollination in that its flower provides neither
reward nor protected space. Dung beetles are excellent at
following a particular dung scent. Orchidantha is the only genus
that includes species lacking floral nectar. It is interesting that
this deception pollination using dung beetles was found in
Zingiberales, in which all known species have mutual and specialized
relationships with their long-distance, but costly, pollinators—bees,
birds, and bats.” (Sakai & Inoue 1999:56)

Journal article
A New Pollination System: Dung-Beetle Pollination Discovered in Orchidantha inouei (Lowiaceae, Zingiberales) in Sarawak, MalaysiaAmerican Journal of BotanyApril 21, 2006
Shoko Sakai, Tamiji Inoue

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Living System/s

Orchidantha inoueiSpecies

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