Tobacco plant thwarts caterpillar onslaught by opening flowers in the morning

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 10:28 in Biology & Nature

Plants attract insect pollinators to ensure reproduction. However, female moths are also threatening to the plant: attracted by the flower's scent, they lay eggs on the leaves, and voracious caterpillars hatch. Scientists have now discovered how tobacco plants solve this dilemma. They found that herbivory changed the opening time of the flower buds from dusk to dawn, attracting day-active hummingbirds which are also able to transfer pollen.

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