Concluding remarks

In this review, we have endeavored to synthesize functional morphology, biome-chanics, and behavioral ecology to develop an integrative view of the interactions between flowering plants and nectar-feeding animals. Proboscides exceeding body length have arisen multiple times among nectar-feeding taxa, and although the morphological composition of these proboscides vary widely, all of these insects share several key attributes, including the possession of a fluid-tight food canal, a specialized tip region, and one or more fluid pumps. These insects have overcome functional problems of proboscis control, storage, and extension to maximize profitability of nectar-foraging activities. The rate of fluid flow in an insect's proboscis depends on the modality of fluid feeding, the morphology of the feeding apparatus, and the chemistry of floral nectars. Optimal nectar-foraging strategies may also be influenced by environmental temperatures and the distribution of nectar resources. Future studies should aim to test proposed links between morphology and ecology to further our understanding of the evolution of long proboscides.

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