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An interesting modification of flower shape for insect pollination occurs in some orchids in which a male insect mistakes the pattern of the orchid flower for the female species and tries to copulate, thereby pollinating the flower. This phenomenon is called as
A. Camouflaging
B. Pseudocopulation
C. Pseudo pollination
D. Pseudo parthenocarpy

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Last updated date: 22nd Feb 2024
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IVSAT 2024
Answer
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Hint: Majority of flowering plants use a range of animals as pollinating agents such as bees, butterflies, flies, wasps, ants, moths etc. Often flowers of such animal pollinated plants are specifically adapted for a particular species of animal.

Complete Answer:
- Orchids are angiosperms or flowering plants. So, the pollination process is very important in these angiosperms. That is the pollen grains must reach the stigma after getting shed from the anthers so that fertilization process takes place. There are many agents like animals, insects, birds etc., which help in this pollination process. Among the insects, bees are the dominant pollinating agents in orchids.
- Flowers of such plants are specifically adapted. Majority of the insect pollinated flowers are large with brightly coloured petals or inflorescence, fragrant or with foul odor and rich in nectar to attract the insects and thus undergo pollination process.
- But in some orchids like Ophrys these floral rewards are not present but instead have some modifications in one of the petals. The size, colour and marking of this modified petal looks like the female species of bees.
- So, the bees mistakenly take this petal as a female bee and try to copulate. During this process, the pollen from the anthers of Ophrys stick to the body of the male bee and when it goes to the other orchid plants it releases these pollens into that flower thus helping in pollination and fertilization.
- This process of copulation where there is no sexual union of individuals is called pseudocopulation.

Thus, the correct option is B (Pseudocopulation).

Note: Pseudocopulation is “the behaviors almost like copulation, which function a reproductive function for one or both the participants but don't involve in actual coupling between the individuals” (or) it can be defined as “attempted copulation by a male insect with a flower that resembles the female thus carrying the pollen to it in the process” (especially occurs in orchids).