Yucca flower and moth relationship quiz

Two is company - The Hindu BusinessLine

This month's mutualism is between a genus of shrub (Yucca) and several Several female yucca moths on the flower of a Yucca shrub. One of. In the process, the moth pollinates the yucca flower. What type of symbiotic relationship is this? answer choices. mutualism. commensalism. parasitism. Every few years, hefty clusters of white flowers bloom amidst the spikes, The dependence of the yuccas and the yucca moths on each other is a What happened to the trees' close relationship with the moths when this split began? . It's only appropriate that the last quiz of is all about endings.

When she arrives at a new plant, she inspects the flowers and chooses the ones that are at the right stage. She can detect the smell of other female moths with her antennae and, if another one has been there already, she searches for another flower. This is good for the plant and for the future babies because, if too many eggs were laid in one flower ovary, the flower would abort and the larvae would starve.

She lays her eggs in the ovary, no more than a handful; once again, if she laid too many eggs, the flower would abort. Afterwards she goes to the stigma of the flower and carefully removes some pollen from under her chin and deposits it on the stigma. Now the flower will produce a fruit and enough seeds to feed the larvae as well as ensure the reproduction of the plant. In a few weeks, the larva is fully-grown.

It drops to the ground; it buries itself and makes a cocoon. It will stay underground until the next spring. However, some pupae remain dormant for more than a year.

Two is company

If the yucca fails to bloom one year because of weather conditions, there will still be yucca moths around. Yuccas are used as ornamentals well beyond their original geographic range.

The yucca moths have managed to follow the yucca and have enlarged their range east and north as far as the east coast and Alberta and Ontario in Canada. For Additional Information Pellmyr, Olle. The yucca moth family. The Natural History of Pollination. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Pollinator of the Month. Once damaged, the flower will drop, and neither yucca seeds nor yucca moth caterpillars will grow.

The Yucca and its Moth | The Prairie Ecologist

This tight relationship is best observed in the closely related western and eastern species of Joshua trees, which are pollinated by two different but closely related species of yucca moth. The western form of the Joshua tree has longer flowers, and the moths that pollinate them have correspondingly longer ovipositors. Given that yuccas and yucca moths have relied on one another for 40 million years, and given that new species of both the plants and the insects have arisen in this time, it is worth wondering if these species have arisen together.

In other words, if a population of yucca plants splits into two distinct species, do the moths pollinating them simultaneously also split into two species?

Yucca Moths

In the case of the Joshua trees described above, the answer seems to be yes. But look a bit more closely, and the story gets complicated.

On the one hand, it is true that the flowers of the two Joshua tree species and the ovipositors of the two moth species are more different from each other than are any other parts of the plants or moths, suggesting that the close linkage between flower and ovipositor is what drove these populations to become new species. On the other hand, estimations of when these species formed suggest that the tree species diverged from one another a few million years before the moth species did. So what spurred the split of the Joshua tree into two species?

Did it begin with the evolution of differences in the shape of flowers, or was that a later development? How quickly did the moths and, specifically, their ovipositors evolve following the split of the trees? These questions remain unanswered. Looking more broadly at other yuccas, we see that the associations between these plants and their pollinators are messy at best. New species of yuccas and yucca moths form together, sometimes.

Pollinators switch from one species of plant to a distantly related one, sometimes. So it seems that this dependence can be complex and counter-intuitive.