John Whittles Wildlife


Darwin's Predicta Orchid (Angraecum eburneum)

This was a special sighting. When the orchid was discovered in the 19th century, it was sent to Charles Darwin. From the length of the tube containing the nectar, Darwin predicted that it would be pollinated by an insect with a proboscis of a certain length. This was dismissed as no such insect had ever been found. 18 months later a moth was discovered in Mexico that nearly fitted the description, and shortly after that the actual pollinator was found in Madagascar. It was a hawk moth & exactly as Darwin had described.

Location: Andisibe, Madagascar

Photographer: John Whittles