Two taxonomically undescribed Colocasiomyia species were discovered from inflorescences of Alocasia macrorrhizos in Kota Kinabalu City, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. The aims of this study were to investigate the reproductive ecology of the flies and the plant, ascertain the importance of the flies as pollinators and examine the intimate association between flowering events and life history of the flies. We conducted sampling, observations and field pollination experiments. The flies were attracted by the odour of female-phase inflorescences in the early morning on the first day of anthesis. They fed, mated and oviposited in the inflorescences for 1 day. On the second day, the flies, covered with pollen grains, left the male-phase inflorescences for the next female-phase inflorescences. The immature forms of both fly species hatched, developed and pupated within the infructescences without damaging the fruits, and developed adults emerged when the mature infructescences dehisced. The flowering events and fly behaviours were well synchronized. In field pollination experiments, inflorescences bagged with a fine mesh (insect exclusion) produced almost no fruits, whereas those bagged with a coarse mesh (bee exclusion) produced as many fruits as the open-pollinated controls. These results indicate that these flies are the most efficient and specialised pollinators for their host, A. macrorrhizos. These flies, in return, depend on A. macrorrhizos for food and habitat through most of their life cycle. This study provides a deeper insight into the less recognised, highly intimate pollination mutualism between Araceae plants and Colocasiomyia flies.
KEY MESSAGE: Morphological and transcriptomic evidences provide us strong support for the function of ANAC019 in reproductive development under drought stress. Plants are sensitive to drought conditions, particularly at the reproductive stage. Several studies have reported drought effects on crop reproductive development, but the molecular mechanism underlying drought response during reproduction is still unclear. A recent study showed that drought induces in Arabidopsis inflorescence increased expression of many genes, including ANAC019. However, the function of ANAC019 in drought response during reproductive development has not been characterized. Here, we report an investigation of the ANAC019 function in the response to drought during reproduction. ANAC019 is preferentially expressed in the inflorescence compared with the leaf, suggesting possible roles in regulating both stress response and flower development. The anac019 mutant was more sensitive to drought than WT plant, and exhibited a delay in recovery of floral organ development under prolonged drought stress. Moreover, many fewer genes were differentially expressed in the anac019 inflorescence under drought than that of WT, suggesting that the mutant was impaired in drought-induced gene expression. The genes affected by ANAC019 were associated with stress and hormone responses as well as floral development. In particular, the expression levels of several key drought-induced genes, DREB2A, DREB2B, ARF2, MYB21 and MYB24, were dramatically reduced in the absence of ANAC019, suggesting that ANAC019 is an upstream regulator these genes for drought response and flower development. These results provide strong support for the potential function of ANAC019 in reproductive development under drought stress.