masters of disguise - Plant Science

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Do Plants have Doll’s Eyes?

If you are walking alone by yourself in the Midwestern or Eastern United States or Eastern Canada, you will encounter a strange phenomenon of hoards of eye-balls looking at you out of nowhere. Do not mistake them for being a prank or wonder if someone collected doll’s eyes and hung them up on a tree. […]

The “Praying” Mantis

Today in our series of #Mastersofdisguise we are meeting an undeniably impressive insect – The praying mantis. Carnivorous and maser of camouflage, the praying mantis gets its name for the way their front legs are bent in a “praying” motion. Most mantis species are coloured green or brown so they can blend in with leaves and foliage […]

Sweet talk and drops of nectar.

The next in our series of masters of disguise is Broad-Leaved Helleborine:The broad-leaved helleborine is a sub-species of orchid that have evolved physiological and morphological tactics to help them attract social wasps, which are their main pollinating agents. They trick pollinators into visiting their flowers. Some attract males by mimicking the sight and smells of females. […]

Beauty and fragrance

If looks can lure, this hammer orchid can summon an army of wasps. Add to that the brilliance of feninine pheromones and you have the ultimate combination.  The hammer orchid is an Australian species of orchid that attracts insects by mimicking both the visual and olfactory characteristics of pollinating insects like bees and wasps. This […]

Plants and the art of disguise

When you look at Tom Hanks transform into the character of Forest Gump or Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire, you are enthralled to see how the protagonist can mimic a completely different character with such ease and finesse. However good these fine actors are, there are better-mimicking geniuses in the world of plants and animals.  […]

You know you love me!

When you see one of the finest examples of plants mimicking insects in the Mirror Bee Orchid, you wonder if there is a master mentoring them. Mirror bee orchids have sufficient resemblance to the female of the ichneumon  wasp Lissopimpla semipunctata to induce copulation by the male wasp. To take their deception further, they are very well-known for […]