Contact: Lee Siegel
University of Utah
Caption: Electron microscope image of an adult insect Cycadothrips chadwicki -- known as a thrips (the word is singular and plural) -- after it emerged from the male cone of a cycad plant covered with bits of pollen. A University of Utah study found that certain primitive cycad plants in Australia heat themselves up and emit odors to drive pollen-covered thrips out of male cycad cones, where the thrips eat pollen. The plants then use a milder odor to attract the thrips. Some of the insects mistakenly enter female plants and pollinate them.
Credit: Desley Tree, Queensland (Australia) Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.
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