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  #1  
Old 09-16-2005, 10:48 PM
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Tindomul Tindomul is offline
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Default The Comet Orchid

Here is an interesting Orchid that caught my eye on a nature program, not to sure which one. Angraecum sesquipedale
The Comet Orchid is also known as Darwin's Orchid becuase its got a long spur hanging down and curved backwards. Now the interesting thing is that there is only 1 moth around that has a proboscis long enough to drink the nectar from this spur (Xanthopan morgani predicta) the hawkmoth, and therefore it is the only means by which this Orchid can be fertilized, at least without human intervention.
Darwin surmized that there must be a moth that can do this, though he didnt live to know it, he was right. A very classical illustration of coevolution!!! Here are a few pics, and a link to where I got the info:

http://www.heres-yourhome.com/Orchid...86,c42218.html







The following pic is not the Comet Orchid, but it is an orchid luring the moth with its strong scent the same way that the hawkmoth is lured to the comet orchid:


Hope you all liked this little tid bit.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2007, 07:25 PM
Ross Ross is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tindomul1of9 View Post
The following pic is not the Comet Orchid, but it is an orchid luring the moth with its strong scent the same way that the hawkmoth is lured to the comet orchid:


Hope you all liked this little tid bit.
This is actually a "Hummingbird Moth" They are also attracted to a lot of red colored flowers as well as bright colors like this. Hummingbird Moths - White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moths Sphingidae: Hyles lineata
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  #3  
Old 06-05-2007, 11:11 PM
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Dorothy Dorothy is offline
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Fascinating
It's all so enigmatic
Thanks for the interesting read
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- paraphrasing Marlowe Hood from 'Orchid Fossil Quells Evolutionary Quarrel'


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  #4  
Old 06-05-2007, 11:58 PM
dave b dave b is offline
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I love that orchid, and always enjoy hearing the history behind it.

PBS has a weekly show called Nature. A month or so ago, they played a "best of Nature" special, comprised of mini clips from many of their past shows. One was of a researcher who climbed up into the tree tops and set up in front of a clump of sesquipedale, hoping to film the pollination by the hawk moth. As it turned to night, they switched to night vision on the film (everything was bright black and white) and he continued to wait. It was very hot, and the mosquitoes were having him for dinner. After waiting all night and long into the morning, he finally witnessed it. I think it was now about 4 in the morning, and caught on film was a large hawk moth, unrolling and inserting its long proboscis into flower. It was one of the coolest things ive seen.

Makes me wonder if i can find the clip somewhere on the net. If i can, ill post the link.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:19 AM
puddin puddin is offline
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I read about the orchid in The Orchid Book for Dummies. I thought it was funny that they kept saying he was nuts, only to be proven wrong. It had to reproduce somehow. Or does it magically do it?

Last edited by puddin; 06-06-2007 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:13 PM
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I've seen the video a long while back. Its great!
Puddin, maybe they thought it was an asexual reproduction orchid. But hey they used to think there was no such thing as germs either.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:14 PM
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Thanks for the info Ross!!!!
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We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"

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  #8  
Old 02-24-2008, 07:15 AM
Mike O'C Mike O'C is offline
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Tindomul,
I believe (but don't really know) that they have now split Angraecum sesquepedale into two different species. The one species I believe has smaller and fewr flowers. Any comment?
I liked your pink flower photo. Looks like a Satyrium. Do you know which one?
Keep well and kind regards
Mike
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2008, 07:30 AM
kavanaru kavanaru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddin View Post
I read about the orchid in The Orchid Book for Dummies. I thought it was funny that they kept saying he was nuts, only to be proven wrong. It had to reproduce somehow. Or does it magically do it?
Puddin, what was critizised from Darwin's prediction was not the fact that the orchid was pollinated by a moth but the fact of predicting a hawk moth with such an impressive long proboscis (12 - 14 inches long!). Furthermore, Darwin's ideas of evolution were quite new and revolutionary for the time and were not accepted by most people (including most scientists).

It's just like if someone would have predicted 25 years ago, that the genomic code from a chimpanzee is less than 5% different that the one from a human. For sure everybody would have laughed the hell ouy of it... and now we know that the difference is just 2%...
Scientific life is full of these stories
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:38 AM
kavanaru kavanaru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
This is actually a "Hummingbird Moth" They are also attracted to a lot of red colored flowers as well as bright colors like this. Hummingbird Moths - White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moths Sphingidae: Hyles lineata
Ross,
You are right. This is a beautifull specimen if Hummingbird moth. They belong to a "small" group of euroasitic hawk moth (also known as sphinx moth - family Sphingidae). One of the particularities of the Hummingbird moth is that they are diurnal (opposite to most Sphingidae).

The diurnal ones are very sensitive to colours and are also atracted by them (like in the case of Hummingbirds). However, nocturnal species are atracted to vhite (or very pale) flowers, normally with strong "sweet" odours.
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