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This Morbid Plant Hides Under Dead Bugs to Protect Itself from Predators

posted: 07/27/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Aquilegia eximia
Pugawug Tiny Puna via Flickr

The serpentine columbine (Aquilegia eximia) plant evades predation by surrounding itself with corpses -- makes sense, no?

According to a new study in the journal Ecology, the plant frequently falls victim to moth larvae feasting on its fruit and flowers. The columbine, though, has two secret weapons up its sleeve: it secretes both an insect-attracting chemical and a gooey coating onto its surface. When an unsuspecting beetle follows the irresistible scent, it suddenly finds itself permanently stuck to the plant for the rest of its (suddenly abbreviated) life.

In turn, the columbine's collection of dead insects attracts spiders, which eat both the trapped dead insects and the pesky larvae off of the plant's surface.

Click here for more information from Science Magazine

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