News Round-Up

Plants can camouflage odours to avoid being eaten: study


Plants in dense tropical forests are able to mask their chemical scents in order to avoid being detected and eaten by insects—a key advantage in the “information arms race” between themselves and plant-eating herbivores, according to a new study.

International researchers from Europe and North America examined 28 species of insects and 20 plant species in Chamela-Cuixmala, a tropical forest reserve on the western coast of Mexico.

Their research—published Thursday in the journal Science—sheds light on how individual members of “complex plant communities” evolve to emit similar odours, a pack mentality that keeps them alive and confuses hungry herbivores. MORE

Header image: Caterpillar species from the study. Credit: Antonio López-Carretero.