Research conducted by Acadia’s Dr. Kirk Hillier and Dr. Rodger Evans has been published in the most recent edition of Scientific Reports. The paper entitled “Novel Insect Florivory Strategy Initiates Autogamy in Unopened Allogamous Flowers” describes a new insect-plant interaction which has never been described previously.
The research shows that larvae of a small moth, Mompha capella, enter the buds of the rare Rockrose flowers and force them to self-pollinate by highly selective feeding on the developing petals. These flowers are normally open-pollinated by bees and flies. Fruit then develops in the unopened flowers and the M. capella larvae chews an entrance hole into the developing fruit to consume its seeds. This research shows that these predatory insects may be having a negative effect on the population dynamics of the Rockrose flower.
Images by Dr. Rodger Evans
Read the full paper here.