Which insect has the ability to penetrate the almost foot-long nectar tube of the Ghost orchid? For generations this question has interested researchers who have speculated that the Giant sphinx mothwas one of the few species with a tubular tongue that could reach the sticky pollen in the endangered flower.
Shot over three years, a short documentary by Grizzly Creek Movies follows researchers committed to proving this hypothesis. It is based on Charles Darwins 160 year old studies on the development of the orchids, especially in relation to a species in Madagascar about which he famously said: “Good heavens. What insect could it suckle? ” In the “Catch ghostsThe team wades into the buggy wetlands of South Florida with snakes and alligators to reach a cypress grove where the white flowers wrap high between the branches. There they installed cameras to take the first photo of the giant sphinx moth examining the ghost orchid.
In total, the mission recorded 6,800 camera hours and 52,173 images captured in both Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee Beach and recorded five species capable of pollinating the sensitive plant. Surprisingly, the same event they were trying to capture – the giant sphinx moth with its proboscis reaching into the elusive flower – exposed the researchers’ long-held hypothesis and put them on a new course to see how this plant continued to reproduce.
Watch the full documentary above and learn about the adventures of the Montana-based studio Yellowstone and the harsh landscapes of the southern United States on the Grizzly Creek Films website and Vimeo. You can also follow his discoveries on Instagram.
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