All posts by zooplantman

Former Director of Horticulture, Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo. Zoo exhibit & landscape designer perversely fascinated by the doings of plants, animals, ecosystems and other things not requiring batteries
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Sweat The Small Stuff

A tropical tree creates insect nurseries in its buds for miniscule pollinators, say German scientists. This novel strategy relies on thrips, insects rarely considered pollinators. Darwin dismissed thrips as annoyances that fouled his pollination experiments, and since then biologists studying pollination haven't paid much attention to this dot of a creature.

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Every Pollinator Rule Has An Exception

Supposedly specialized flowers often host a great diversity of insects and birds, whose impacts vary. A slightly bumbling bee might provide vital services when better pollinators aren't around but then become a nuisance, essentially a thief, in better times.

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A Novel Way To Disperse Seeds

Brazilian botanists have caught Mother Nature playing with squirt guns.

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Mistletoe And Marsupials. A New Holiday Tradition?

For most people, mistletoe evokes images of Christmas and perhaps a little holiday romance. For a group of Argentine researchers, it brings to mind marsupials and defecation.

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Mistletoe Magic

Some of the plants have flowers with trick openings. Some shoot their seeds farther than most watermelon spitters can spout. Some mistletoes grow as parasites on other parasitic mistletoes. And some give North Americans and Australians yet another way to misunderstand each other.

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Lure Pollinators With Fungi

From the region that gave us pollination by cockroaches and dung beetles, here's another of Nature's peculiarities: a plant that relies on a fungus as well as a pollinating insect.

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Seeds Will Have Their Day In The Sun

Even as scientists develop methods to control plant reproduction, each time we yield to the temptation to pluck a ripe juicy apple from its branch, we too become pawns in one of nature's carefully devised game plans.