How about this for sneaky-boots behaviour!?
Plants mimic scent of pollinating beetles
It is a generally accepted belief that the colour and scent of flowers and their perception by pollinator insects evolved in the course of mutual adaptation.
It usually goes something like this… Flowers give off a nice scent. Insects like the scent. The nicer the scent, the more insects go to that flower. The flower adapts, is very successful and multiplies accordingly. The insects adapt, feed more easily and multiply accordingly. The flower whose scent attracts the most or most successful pollinator insects is the ‘fittest’ in Darwinian survivalist terms, as is the insect who is attracted to that particular scent. An evolutionary win – win.
However, evolutionary biologist Florian Schiestl from the University of Zurich now proves that this was not the only scenario, at least not with the arum family, which evolved its scent to match the pre-existing scents of scarab beetles and thus adapted to the beetles unilaterally. The mutual adaptation between plants and pollinators, therefore, does not always take place.
In other words, the plant, on its own, adapted to imitate the smell of the scarab beetle and apparently, the scarab beetle had little if anything to do about it. Talk about sly!
Schiestl and Stefan Dötterl, a colleague from Bayreuth, studied the arum family and one of its pollinators, scarab beetles. In the beetles, they discovered many scent molecules used for chemical communication that were also found in the plants.
“In the course of evolution, the arum family mimicked the scents of scarab beetles to attract pollinating insects more efficiently,” says Schiestl.
Co-evolution is regarded as a driving force behind the development of a mutual adaptation between two organisms. However, this is not true of the arum family, which developed its scent along the pre-existing communication of scarab beetle scents. “Co-evolution between plants and pollinating insects might well be less common than we thought,” Schiestl concludes.
Smartly done, Arum Family! Well played!!
Florian P. Schiestl and Stefan Dötterl. “The Evolution of Floral Scent and Olfactory Preferences in Pollinators: Coevolution or Pre-Existing Bias?” Evolution. International Journal of Organic Evolution. March 12, 2012.