Marcgravia evenia

Botanic Notables: Acoustic Leaves in a Cuban Rainforest

August 03, 2012
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To the wandering bird, bee, or insect, a flower is both a billboard and a wayfinding sign—its colors and patterning have evolved to attract pollinators and direct them towards the plant's pollen and nectar. There's one prerequisite: the visual cues require a diurnal pollinator to find the flower. What about bats, then? How do nocturnal, echolocating pollinators navigate a floral terrain? According to an article in Science, they may use acoustics.