Sunday, 18 May 2014

wild-vines or foilage

Researches in the jungles of Chile have discovered a species of ivy that has advanced chameleon-like abilities to blend into its surroundings—hitherto a trait almost exclusively reserved to select members of the animal kingdom.
Such talents were exceeding rare amongst the motile members, as well, with really only the chameleon and certain squids and octopuses able to really change their stripes to dynamically hide themselves, and in most cases, the camouflage is a fixed attribute, looking like twigs or more (or less) formidable challenges to fool predators. For the Boquila trifoliolata, when it creeps into the branches of host trees, it is able to change the size and shape of its leaves to appear as part of the tree—even if one individual growth spans across different kinds of trees, the plant will develop other leaves to match the backdrop. Botanists believe that the ability came about in order to evade leaf eating insects—trees often entering into symbiotic relationships with ants or birds to eliminate these parasites (and parasitic vines, too) or have developed their own specific toxins that make their leaves odious to a range of potential pests, and the ivy is safe in these sheltering boughs. What they do not know for sure, however, is how the vine knows how its host's leaves look to intrepid researchers or to native herbivores.