Evolution in Action

I know I haven’t been blogging lately, but since school has started, I’ve been extremely busy. I’m hoping to post on Mondays to get our intellectual juices flowing.
At any rate, check out this image.
Awesome stuff.  First of all, guess what that image is?
Ophrys insictifera
If you thought it was some crazy insect, you’re wrong. It’s actually an orchid.  This orchid has “learned” to mimic bees and wasps. Natural selection has molded the flowers of these orchids (many in the genus Ophyrys) into mimics of the insects that pollinate them.  Thus, males insects, thinking that this orchid is actually a female insect, land on them and tries to copulate with them.  Obviously, it doesn’t work, but during this attempt, the insects’ heads or bodies contact the orchids’ pollen sacs which attaches itself to the insect.  The frustrated insect flies off, but soon tries to copulate with another orchid, which puts the hitchhiking pollen in contact with the new orchid’s stigma. In such a way the bees/wasps serve as “flying penises,” helping the orchids have sex.  You can see the whole article (and more pics) here.

Finally, here’s a clip of fire ants in the Amazon making a raft out of. . . themselves.  Very cool!

Advertisements

About shaunmiller

I am a Ph. D student at Marquette University. The primary purpose of this blog is to get my ideas out there, and then have other people scrutinize, critique, build upon, and systematize beliefs. This blog will sometimes pertain to what I'm learning in my classes, but it will occasionally deal with non-classroom issues that I'm thinking about as well.
This entry was posted in Environment, Evolution, News, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Evolution in Action

  1. thekillerj says:

    5 points for me, I guessed it was an Orchid. The orchid species is actually pretty bad ass. There are thousands of different adaptations, some of which are complex and amazing like the insect thing above. I love stuff like this.

  2. Pingback: What I’ve Learned this Past Year — 2009 Edition « Shaun Miller’s Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s