The flying duck orchid (Caleana major):
- gets pollinated by tricking sawflies into trying to fuck it
- looks like a flying duck
Marginally less ridiculous-looking when closed:
So, orchids, you guys. Orchids. Can we talk about orchids for a minute? Because orchids can be pretty horrible.
Like, there are a lot of them that operate by tricking dude-bugs into thinking that they’re lady-bugs and having sex with them. A lot of the time, it’s just like a party-foul, and the dude-bug realizes the orchid’s shady, moves on to eventually find a lady-bug to court, and no real harm comes to the species as a result of the orchid’s jerkass behavior.
Other times, the orchid is such a good mimic that it actually tricks the wasp or bee or whatever into jizzing all over it. Why does it do this? Short-term answer is that a wasp actually really giving it his all gets more pollen on him and is more likely to transfer pollen from other orchids onto the right part of the orchid he’s trying to fuck. The long-term answer is that these orchids’ pollinators are usually haplodiploid, which means that if they can deny chick-wasps the guy-wasps’, *ahem*, vital essence, they’re going to produce a whole new generation of nothing but dudes.
Horny, desperate, easily-deceived dudes who’ll bang any orchid in sight because the ladies are thin on the ground.
Female wasps of the pollinating species tend to be kind of choosy to begin with, and they get way more so after they’ve already mated once, because it’s not like they can whip out a little wasp fertility kit and make sure the guy they boned wasn’t shooting blanks thanks to his accidental dalliances with fake wasps. So once they figure they’re good to go, they’re basically sitting there going “You’d better be like, at least a nine, buddy.” (Most wasps are not nines.) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand dude-wasps are kind of doing the same thing if they’re naive and don’t realize yet that they banged a flower. They’ll also be going “Nah, I blew my load pretty hard just the other day, I’m pretty sure my genes are getting into the next generation.”
I mean, kind of definitionally, the only wasps whose genes are making it into the new generation are the wasps who can either tell the difference between a female wasp and an orchid or who can and will just jizz all over everything, so the plant vs. wasp arms race is probably going to produce some really interesting results.