Researchers already knew that flower colours in the Northern Hemisphere were targeted to bee vision, but a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B is the first to show bees were also the main drivers in the colour evolution of Australian flowers.
The fact that the same process occurred in Australia, even though the continent has been geographically isolated for more than 34 million years, suggests that bees are the most important pollinators for flowers, says lead author Adrian Dyer, a vision researcher from Monash University in Melbourne.
“We now know for sure that bees have been the major driver of flower colours around the world, more than birds or butterflies, and are a very important resource to protect,” he says. Read more…..
The parasite, which attaches itself to grape vines, actually steals chunks of its host’s DNA – and cannot live without being inside it.
The flower is known as the ‘corpse flower’ because it emits an odour of rotting flesh. It’s found in the jungles of Borneo.
The flower is separated from its host by 100 million years of evolution, but shares large chunks of its genome, which it appears to have ‘siphoned off’ in a process similar to the one by which plants and animals pass genes to their offspring.
The finding has puzzled scientists, who say the research could rewrite our thinking on how parasite-host relationships work. Read More…
Until about 140 million years ago, dinosaurs had been munching their way through a uniformly green plant world. What happened then is one of evolution’s greatest success stories, heralding a new kind of ecological relationship that would transform the planet: The first flowers appeared, competing for the attention of animals to visit them and distribute their pollen to other flowers to ensure the plant’s propagation.
The myriad of ways in which flowers attract pollinators have been studied since the beginning of biology, and few ecological relationships between organisms are as well understood as those between plants and their pollinators.
Despite decades of research, a team led by Martin von Arx, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Goggy Davidowitz in the University of Arizona department of entomology, now has discovered a previously unknown sensory channel that is used in plant-animal interactions.
The white-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata), the most common species of hawkmoth in North America, can detect minuscule differences in humidity when hovering near a flower that tells it if there is enough nectar inside to warrant a visit. Read More…