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The Green Life: Is This Plant Bugged?

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April 28, 2008

Is This Plant Bugged?

Flower_crosssection_4 Ever wondered how subterranean insects communicate with aboveground bugs? Okay, we haven't either-- that's what PhD students are for. A team of them at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology have just uncovered a secret bug messaging system in which underground insects emit chemical signals through plant leaves. The message? "Hey, this one's taken." The mechanism (a product of natural selection, scientists say) prevents needless competition between root-munchers and leaf-eaters. No one knows yet how widespread the insect communication network is, but one thing's sure: It makes cell phones seem so this century.

Source: Environmental News Network


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