The orchids were of particular interest because they were relatively new arrivals to the island from Madagascar, and did not have Madagascan insects around to pollinate them.
"This was not on anyone's radar," said professor Mark Chase, keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the U.K. and co-author of the report.
Micheneau kept an eye on three species of Reunion orchids and first discovered that two of them were being pollinated by songbirds, which is not unprecedented, Chase explained. The third was not getting any daytime action at all.
"So she knew something was going on at night," said Chase.
That prompted her to set up motion sensitive night cameras, which to her surprise, revealed a new species of cricket very purposefully moving from flower to flower collecting nectar and carrying pollen on its head.
Indeed, a cricket is a far cry from the orchid's typical Madagascan pollinators, said orchid expert Mark Whitten of the University of Florida.
"Most (of these type of orchids) are pollinated by very long-tongued Sphinx moths," said Whitten, referring to the remarkable moths with the foot-long tongues that Charles Darwin had famously predicted existed and which were then later found by biologists.