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!

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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

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