18 June, 2016

Inhibition of biochemical terpene pathways in Achillea millefolium flowers differently affects the behavior of bumblebees and flies

Flowering Achillea millefolium. Photo J. Kuppler

by Anne-Amélie C. Larue-Kontić & Robert R. Junker
Floral scents serve multiple functions in the interactions with organisms. It has been hypothesized that terpenoids often serve defensive functions. Flowers of Achillea millefolium (Asteraceae) emit scent bouquets dominated by terpenoids. These flowers are mainly visited by flies and beetles, whereas bumblebees, common visitors at other Asteraceae, are absent from A. millefolium flowers. In order to test whether terpenoids explain the absence of bumblebees on these flowers, we inhibited the biochemical pathways of mono- and sesquiterpenoids of hydroponic plants in the lab and conducted choice tests with bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and flies (Lucilia sericata)...

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Read the scientific publication in JPE.