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Luo, Shi-Xiao; Liu, Ting-Ting; Cui, Fei; Yang, Zi-Yin; Hu, Xiao-Ying and Renner, Susanne S. (2017): Coevolution with pollinating resin midges led to resin-filled nurseries in the androecia, gynoecia and tepals of Kadsura (Schisandraceae). In: Annals of Botany, Vol. 120, No. 5: pp. 653-664

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Background and Aims Resin is a defence against herbivores and a floral reward in a few African and South American species whose bee pollinators collect it for nest construction. Here we describe a new role for floral resin from the Asian genus Kadsura (Schisandraceae). Kadsura tepals tightly cover a globe formed by carpels (in females) or near-fused stamens with fleshy connectives (in male flowers of most, but not all species). Methods We carried out field observations at four sites in China and used pollinator behavioural assays, chemical analyses and time-calibrated insect and plant phylogenies to investigate the specificity of the interactions and their relationship to floral structure. Key Results Nocturnal resin midges (Resseliella, Cecidomyiidae) walk around on the flowers' sexual organs to oviposit, thereby transferring pollen and wounding tissues. The larvae then develop in resin-filled chambers. Male and female floral scents are dominated by alpha-pinene, while the resinous exudate is dominated by caryophyllene. As revealed by barcoding of multiple midge larvae per flower species, the mutualisms are species specific and appear to have evolved over the past 6-9 million years. Conclusions Resin feeding, not pollen or ovule feeding, by midge larvae explains the abundant Kadsura exudates, highlighting the poorly known world of nocturnal flower-fly interactions.

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