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A Cupiennius coccineus spider changes from lurk (a) to attack position (b) without jumping at the hovering Agrius cingulatus moth, which is swinging in front of an artificial blossom between position (a) and (b). From Wasserthal (2001). 

A Cupiennius coccineus spider changes from lurk (a) to attack position (b) without jumping at the hovering Agrius cingulatus moth, which is swinging in front of an artificial blossom between position (a) and (b). From Wasserthal (2001). 

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Conference Paper
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Since Darwin the extremely long tongues of tropical hawkmoths have been interpreted to be the result of a coevolutionary race with long nectar spurs of orchids. However, extremely long-proboscis hawkmoths are not restricted to the exploitation of highly specialized sphingophilous flowers. Due to their long tongues and a swing-hovering flight they a...

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Context 1
... in vegetation (Wasserthal, 1993(Wasserthal, , 1996. They sense the wing vibrations of the moths from distances of up to 3 m. The long tongues allow the moths to maintain a safe distance from most flowers they visit and the swing-hovering prevents the predators from targeting the moths and finding the proper moment for an attack (Wasserthal, 2001; Fig. 1). Swinging flight and long tongues are assumed to be very old traits. Hunting spi- ders existed as far back as the Carboniferous (Kittel, 1910). When hawkmoths appeared on the evolutionary stage they were confronted with predators such as hunting spiders and evolved their long tongues. The long-spurred orchids thus profited from the ...

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Article
Full-text available
Since DARWIN the extremely long tongues of tropical hawk moths have been interpreted to be the result of a coevolutionary race with long nectar spurs of orchids. However, extremely long-proboscis hawkmoths are not restricted to the exploitation of highly specialized sphingophilous flowers. Due to their long tongues and a swing-hovering flight they...

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Article
Full-text available
Since DARWIN the extremely long tongues of tropical hawk moths have been interpreted to be the result of a coevolutionary race with long nectar spurs of orchids. However, extremely long-proboscis hawkmoths are not restricted to the exploitation of highly specialized sphingophilous flowers. Due to their long tongues and a swing-hovering flight they avoid ambush predators such as huntsman spiders, which lurk among flowers. However, swing-hovering hinders full insertion of the proboscis into the long spurs of orchids. Some orchids prevent the moths from the swinging flight by forcing them to land on their protruding labellum. This is the case with Angraecum sesquipedale and Xanthopan morganii praedicta. Illegitimate visitors with tongues longer than the orchid spurs can exploit the nectar or even waste the pollinaria, thus exerting selection pressure towards spur elongation with the consequence of pollinator-shift from shorter- to longer-tongued moths.