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Myophily  (or Fly pollination)  [ Botanic ]
Also: Sapromyophily (or Carrion-fly pollination)

Dictionary of botanic terminology
index of names

  Myophily is the pollination by flies  

Flies (Dipterans) are among the most common insects that visit and pollinate flowers. Flies have been mentioned as pollinators or regular visitors of thousands of species of flowering plant. A great variation of pollination methods is found among the plants that are fly pollinated. Many of the pollinator flies feed on exposed fluids and also eat small solid particles including pollen grains. Flies are important pollinators under certain climatic conditions because they are present at all times of the year. Some plants may be completely dependent on flies for pollination. Even flies that are generalists in their floral visits can contribute to plant reproductive success, and may equal or rival bees as effective pollinators in some.

There are two types of fly pollination, myophily and sapromyophily.

Echinocereus baileyi and the bees MYOPHILY (Fly pollination): In general, typical fly pollinated flowers do not bloom regularly and are simple with very little depth. Flower colour is usually pale with a dull texture. Nectar guides often occur. Nectar is open or easily available and the male and female parts of the flower are well exposed. Many of these flowers are scented, but for the most part, the scent is imperceptible.
The "hoverflies" are some of the most common pollinators flies, they are often brightly coloured they are also known as pollen eaters and visit tubular or convex shaped flowers. Adult flies feed on pollen and nectar. (Plants that are fly pollinated include for example: Euphorbia, Sedum and various members of the Crassulaceae, Brassicaceae and Orchidaceae families)
 "Hover-Flies" or "Flower fly" Scientific name Syrphus balteatus one of the most common species of the Syrphidae family (Diptera order ).
Left: On a Crassula flower (Photo by: Andrea B - Italy)
Right: On an Echinocereus reichembachii (photo by: Andrea Seidel (Germany)


▲Above: In this corolla of Stapelia grandiflora a female of "green-bottle fly" (Lucilia sp.) comes to ovideposit a new packet of eggs... note that a lot of eggs (the white masses) were deposed before by another flies !  (photo by: Jean-Yves Cretin (France)
SAPROMYOPHILY (Carrion-fly and dung-flies pollination): Certain flies  are deceived into pollinating flowers that produce odours of decay and mimic the decaying flesh in which these flies normally oviposit.  Typical carrion or dung-flies are uninterested in the flowers as such, but go to the flower "expecting" to find rotting protein. Not finding the rotting protein, they will leave; therefore, most sapromyphilous flowers have traps to prevent the flies from rapidly leaving. The traps are similar to those found in the insectivorous plants and can be one-way bristles, slipways, or seesaw petals. Characteristics of sapromyophilic flowers include: radial in shape, often with great depth, or lantern shaped, frequently with window openings through which the flies crawl into the blossom (or trap). Flowers have a dull texture and are dark colours of brown, purple and greenish. There are no nectar guides on the petals but often they are maculated (marked with dark spots). Reproductive organs are generally hidden.


A special thank for the photo to:
Andrea Seidel
(Germany) - Andrea B. (Italy) - Jean-Yves Cretin  (France)




Holdfast roots  [ Botany  ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

  Some species of climbing plants develop holdfast roots which help to support the vines on trees, walls, and rocks. By forcing their way into minute pores and crevices, they hold the plant firmly in place.  
Climbing plants, like the poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), and trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans),  develop holdfast roots which help to support the vines on trees, walls, and rocks. By forcing their way into minute pores and crevices, they hold the plant firmly in place. Usually the Holdfast roots die at the end of the first season, but in some species they are perennial. In the tropics some of the large climbing plants have hold-fast roots by which they attach themselves, and long, cord-like roots that extend downward through the air and may lengthen and branch for several years until they strike the soil and become absorbent roots.

Major references and further lectures:
1) E. N. Transeau “General Botany” Discovery Publishing House, 1994




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