Mechanisms And Maintenance
Tim R. New
Published 2017 · Biology
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Ever since Darwin’s (1862) well-known prediction that a Madagascan orchid with an unusually long nectary spur could be pollinated only by a moth with an equivalently long proboscis, such highly specific associations between species have stimulated much thought on mutualisms and coevolution, and the corollary of coextinction. Darwin had received specimens of the orchid Angraecum sesquipedale, and marvelled at the length of the flower as ‘nearly a foot long’. He suggested that the then-unknown pollinator must be a large moth, but the sole known pollinator, the African sphingid Xanthopan morganii (earlier suggested by Wallace 1867, as a likely candidate), was not confirmed to be present in Madagascar until 1903.
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