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Plant Pretends to be Sick

We now know that bacteria plan ahead. New research has revealed that some plants are hypochondriacs. Nature has a lot to tell us if we'll only listen.

They don't actually THINK they're sick when they're not, the way human hypochondriacs do. What they do is PRETEND to be sick, in order to fend off attacks by moths that only want to lay their eggs on healthy leaves. These strangely wonderful plants are only found in the rainforests of Ecuador, which is yet another reason to preserve these valuable places.

During a moth attack, this plant manages to remove some of the chlorophyll from its leaves, so that they are no longer deep green. When this happens the moths go elsewhere. Scientists tested this by using typewriter correction fluid on some of the green leaves. They noticed that this dissuaded the moths from laying their eggs on them, since they want their larvae to have healthy food to eat when they hatch.In BBC News, Matt Walker quotes botanist Sigrid Liede-Schumann as saying that when he realized what was going on, "I was quite surprised."

Whitley and Anne have fended off plenty of attacks over the years too! Don't let this wonderful website, with its delightful interviews, die from neglect now: subscribe today!

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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