The secret senses of african plants. Part 2
Today, in fact, I wish to take in consideration other interesting aspects of this topic.
In the other post I referred to Daniel Chamowitz book, What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses and I talked about smell and how african acacias communicate each other using this sense to defend themselves.
Plants face many environmental challenges and one of them is seed dispersion. Many plants produce fruits attracting animals to eat them. The seeds are usually well protected and go through the animal’s digestive system without being harmed, emerging with a good dose of fertilizer away from the parent tree. If a tree “wants” baboons to disperse its seeds, it has to produce enough ripe fruits for the whole troop, which means the fruits have to ripen at the same time. This ripening is induced by a chemical called ethylene which is produced by the ripening fruits.
Saimiri or Squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) – Central and South America
Bonobo (Pan paniscus) – Congo
But what if the “predator” is not a mammal, but a bacteria or an insect?
Leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae)
I’ll never stop saying nature is fantastic!
But it is not over!
Black bean aphid (Aphis fabae)
African Monach caterpillar (Danaus chrysippus)
African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus) adult
African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus) caterpillar
This discovery is anyway very recent and our knowledge is still restricted. A similar thing, also, has been evoked about the relationship between fungi and termites, but there are not yet scientific evidence.
One thing for sure, there are a lot of really amazing things happening outside there, and not only in Africa, that we can’t see or smell at all.