Wild Things: Life as We Know It
Hummingbirds, birch trees, queen bees, northern quolls and more...
- By Amanda Bensen, T.A. Frail, Erica R. Hendry, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, June 2010
Rhododendrons emit airborne compounds that keep away weevils, moths and aphids. (A.P. / Alamy)
Birch trees borrow bug repellent. Rhododendrons emit airborne compounds that keep away weevils, moths and aphids. Scientists in Finland found that nearby silver birches absorbed repellent in their leaves, later released it—and suffered less pest damage than other birches. It’s the first time such interactions have been seen in a forest.
Learn more about rhododendrons at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“Birch (Betula spp.) leaves adsorb and re-release volatiles specific to neighbouring plants – a mechanism for associational herbivore resistance?” Sari J. Himanen et al., New Phytologist, March 10, 2010
“A seasnake’s colour affects its susceptibility to algal fouling,” R. Shine et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, April 7, 2010
“Mate choice and mate competition by a tropical hummingbird at a floral resource,” Ethan J. Temeles and W. John Kress, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 3, 2010
“Socially induced brain development in a facultatively eusocial sweat bee Megalopta genalis (Halictidae),” Adam R. Smith et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, March 24, 2010
“Conditioned taste aversion enhances the survival of an endangered predator imperiled by a toxic invader,” Stephanie O’Donnell et al., Journal of Applied Ecology, April 13, 2010