Greetings fellow Foxies,
I have just found a Dragon Orchid (Caladenia barbarossa) in Foxes Lair and must share its dreadful secret with you.
In the image can you see that the labellum (middle bit) looks like an insect on steroids? To flower wasp males (Thynnidae, Scolioidae) this looks like a flightless female; a veritable Miss Universe of its species, which drives it to mate. the orchid may also emit female wasp pheromones to attract the male to the flower.
When the poor fellow tries to fly off with her to mate, he tips forward into the flower’s sexual bits and pollinates it.
Dragon orchids are fairly common in sheoak woodland in early October. A good spot is the small sheoak patch at the Claypit.
The female get the rough end of the deal in this video of a feeding pair of mating flower wasps
Many orchids use sexual deception to attract pollinators to their flowers. Here are some other spider orchids with a female mimic labellum.