Patterns of fine-scale, tissue-specific floral scent in the yucca-yucca moth mutualism.
ID: 613 / 354
Proposed Symposium Title: Patterns of fine-scale, tissue-specific floral scent in the yucca-yucca moth mutualism.
Gwen M. Bode1,2
Affiliations: University of Georgia Syracuse University
Flowers are incredibly diverse, varying across a suite of macro-traits including size, shape, color and scent that are used to advertise rewards to pollinators [1–4]. However, insect pollinators are usually much smaller than the flowers they visit, meaning fine-scale, or intra-floral, traits are likely significant to pollinator behavior and thus, floral reproduction. Floral scent is predominantly known for its important role in long-range pollinator attraction , with the majority of floral scent analysis conducted at the whole flower or inflorescence level [2,5]. Getting the pollinator to the plant is of crucial importance to plant reproduction and is the first step in the pollination process, however successful pollination relies heavily upon pollinator behavior once within the flower and is likely highly impacted by fine-scale intra-floral differences in scent chemistry. The existence of floral tissue-specific scent variation has been shown to be present in 14 plant families and the patterns observed thus far are highly variable and species-specific [5–11]. Intra-floral scent patterns might act as a chemosensory map that guides insects to floral rewards or improves pollination efficiency, but the ecological implications of intra-floral scent variation remain poorly understood. Brood pollination mutualisms, such as the yucca-yucca moth system often involve complex behaviors and a need for the pollinator to distinguish among floral parts , providing an excellent system to elucidate the ecological and behavioral impacts of intra-floral scent variation. Here I analyze the floral scent of tepals verses pistils of five species of Yucca that share a common pollinator (Tegeticula yuccasella). I will describe within-species patterns of intra-floral scent variation, how patterns of intra-floral scent differ among Yucca species, and potential implications for pollinator behavior .