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Floral Mimicry$
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Steven D. Johnson and Florian P. Schiestl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732693.001.0001

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Generalized food deception

Generalized food deception

(p.33) Chapter 3 Generalized food deception
Floral Mimicry

Steven D. Johnson

Florian P. Schiestl

Oxford University Press

The majority of rewardless plant species are not specific mimics of the flowers of other species; instead, they deploy a generalized set of floral signals to attract pollinators. These generalized food-deceptive (GFD) species have a number of unique evolutionary and ecological properties that are discussed in this chapter. The success of GFD plants needs to be understood in light of the fact that flower-visiting animals regularly encounter reward-depleted flowers during their foraging bouts. The evolutionary strategy of GFD species succeeds because the process whereby flower visitors learn to avoid deceptive species is sometimes slow and uncertain and depends on a number of factors. Most of the known GFD species are orchids, but the principles outlined in this chapter apply broadly to other deceptive plant–pollinator interactions and underline the relative ease by which plants can manipulate food-seeking insects.

Keywords:   food deception, frequency-dependent selection, insect learning, bee, orchids

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