Breakthrough for research team with people from Salzburg
An international research team led by botanists from the universities of Salzburg, Vienna and Regensburg has now made a breakthrough. Scientists have provided evidence for a hypothesis on the evolution of animal pollination of plants.
Specifically, it is about the fact that plant pests can become pollinators. An enemy can become a friend over time, is the basis of the so-called “antagonist capture” theory: Plants “snatch” pests and make use of them.
In the Austrian laboratory station in Costa Rica, the researchers have now proven exactly that. You took a closer look at a special arum plant. These plants are pollinated by nocturnal beetles, while diurnal bugs eat their pollen.
Bugs carry pollen
This is different with the examined plant belonging to the same genus: It has developed a new scent with a previously unknown substance that even attracts soft bugs. However, the plants have changed their pollen structure from smooth to prickly-sticky, so that they no longer serve as food but stick to the bugs. The small animals carry the pollen with it.
To prove that the new scent could be used to attract bugs, the researchers synthesized it and sprayed it on other plants. The scientists published the study’s success report in the renowned journal “Current Biology”. The newly described fragrance substance is called “Gambanol” – in honor of the Austrian research station “La Gamba”.