John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys morio

O. morio was first described by Paulus and Kreutz from Larnaca (Cyprus) in 2004 and it takes its name from  its pollinator Andrena morio.

This species is only known with certainty from Cyprus but is thought likely to be also present in southern   Anatolia. O. morio is one of four similar O. mammosa group members that occur in Cyprus, the others being O. alasiatica, O. herae and O. mammosa itself. When these species appear in their typical forms they can be   separated relatively easily, unfortunately however there is a high degree of both natural variation and interbreeding. This interbreeding has created hybrid colonies containing intermediate plants showing genetic influence from any and potentially all of the above species.

Most members of the O. mammosa group are believed to be the results of sympatric and/or parapatric   speciation with O. mammosa at its core. In the case of the Cyprus representatives where the species grow in close proximity, the former method would seem to be the obvious process by which the species developed   and distinguishing them can often be difficult.

O. morio in its typical form has several characteristics that help differentiate it:- 1. The beak at the end of the column is considerably longer than in the other species. 2. The base of the stigmatic cavity is very constricted. 3. The margins of the dorsal sepal are often rolled inwards giving it a very narrow appearance. 4. The perianth segments (sepals, petals etc) are elongated.

The illustrations are all from Cyprus and date from the first week of March.