|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2022|
|Authors:||A. Dahake, Jain, P., Vogt, C. C., Kandalaft, W., Stroock, A. D., Raguso, R. A.|
|Keywords:||ADULT FEEDING, ADULT MORPHOLOGY, ANATOMY, ANTENNAE, DATURA, ELECTROANTENNOGRAM, FLORAL HUMIDITY, MANDUCA, PHYSIOLOGY, POLLINATION, SENSILLA, SOLANACEAE, SPHINGIDAE, STOMATA|
"Previous studies have considered floral humidity to be an inadvertent consequence of nectar evaporation, which could be exploited as a cue by nectarseeking pollinators. By contrast, our interdisciplinary study of a nightblooming flower, Datura wrightii, and its hawkmoth pollinator, Manduca sexta, reveals that floral relative humidity acts as a mutually beneficial signal in this system. The distinction between cue- and signal-based functions is illustrated by three experimental findings. First, floral humidity gradients in Datura are nearly ten-fold greater than those reported for other species, and result from active (stomatal conductance) rather than passive (nectar evaporation) processes. These humidity gradients are sustained in the face of wind and are reconstituted within seconds of moth visitation, implying substantial physiological costs to these desert plants. Second, the water balance costs in Datura are compensated through increased visitation by Manduca moths, with concomitant increases in pollen export.We show that moths are innately attracted to humid flowers, even when floral humidity and nectar rewards are experimentally decoupled. Moreover, moths can track minute changes in humidity via antennal hygrosensory sensilla but fail to do so when these sensilla are experimentally occluded. Third, their preference for humid flowers benefits hawkmoths by reducing the energetic costs of flower handling during nectar foraging. Taken together, these findings suggest that floral humidity may function as a signal mediating the final stages of floral choice by hawkmoths, complementing the attractive functions of visual and olfactory signals beyond the floral threshold in this nocturnal plant-pollinator system."