The Pollination of Zygogynum (Winteraceae) by a Moth, Sabatinca (Micropterigidae): An Ancient Association?

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Science  01 Feb 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4686, pp. 540-543
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4686.540


The primitive and vesselless angiosperm Zygogynum (Winteraceae), which is restricted to New Caledonia, is pollinated by a moth, Sabatinca (Micropterigidae). Fossil records of both the moth and the plant families extend to the Early Cretaceous. Adult Sabatinca have grinding mandibles and usually feed on the spores of ferns and on pollen. The insects use the flowers as mating sites and eat the pollen which is immersed in a dense pollenkitt. This mode of pollination in which flowers serve as mating and feeding stations with floral odors acting as cues may have been common in the early evolution of flowering plants.