Beyond the Birds and the Bees


The latest edition of Wildlife Australia magazine is out, including an article I wrote on unusual plant-pollinator relationships from Australian ecosystems. I had so much fun writing this piece about Australia’s unique flora and fauna. From nectar-loving lizards to hairy katydids, there are lots of interesting ecological stories out there to discover!

You can download a pdf of the article here. If you enjoyed this story and want to read more like it, I recommend subscribing to Wildlife Australia, one of the best nature magazines still printing.

© Manu Saunders 2016

6 thoughts on “Beyond the Birds and the Bees

  1. Emily Scott July 15, 2016 / 6:26 PM

    Fascinating stories in this article. The honey possum is so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J. E. Armstrong (aka The Phytophactor) July 16, 2016 / 5:44 AM

    Wow, You even found our work on Eupomatia. Always wish we could have figured out of that interaction, but we were actually working on nutmeg, so this was just an aside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Manu Saunders July 16, 2016 / 8:19 AM

      Some of the most interesting discoveries happen while studying something else! Hope you figure it out eventually.

      Like

  3. jeffollerton July 31, 2016 / 4:16 PM

    I’d bookmarked this and finally got round to reading it! Really nice article, Manu, great to see that you are promoting the diversity of pollination systems; as you rightly say, it’s more than just bees! I’m sure that Australia has many other interesting interactions waiting to be discovered. Do you know the work I did on Piper in Queensland in the mid 90s? It only generated a short note and has never been followed up, but I suspect that it’s another brood-site pollination system:

    Ollerton, J. (1996) Interactions between gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) and inflorescences of Piper novae-hollandiae (Piperaceae) in Australia. The Entomologist 115: 181-184

    I’d love someone to do more work on this. If you can’t track it down drop me an email and I can send you a scan.

    One small correction to your article: amongst the gymnosperms insect pollination is not unique to cycads. It’s widely suspected amongst the extinct taxa, and likely predates the flowering plants by a long way, and in the extant groups is known from the Gnetales. In fact one can turn the argument round and say that, in phylogenetic terms, wind pollination is an unusual (and possibly derived) condition in the gymnosperms because it likely evolved once on the conifers and once in Ginkgo. Still lots to discover in this group too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Manu Saunders August 1, 2016 / 11:24 AM

      Thanks Jeff. I found your Piper paper on researchgate, thanks for the tip. Agree with your last point – I’m working on a review of wind-pollinated plant interactions with flower visitors and have been getting my head around the complexity. I suspect incidental insect pollination is a lot more common than is currently known – so many questions!

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