Warm Flowers for Beetles

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Happiness is a warm flower, if you're a beetle, according to a report in Nature, vol. 426, p243, 20 November 2003. Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide, Australia put temperature sensors in the flowers of a tree dwelling philodendron from French Guyana. He found that during the night the flowers generated heat and maintained a temperature around 27 degrees - 4 degrees higher than the surrounding temperature. Seymour's team then studied the small beetles that pollinate the flower. They observed that the beetles lose heat very quickly and require much energy just to keep warm enough to be active at the ambient temperature, but if they live in a centrally heated flower they can devote more energy to feeding and reproduction. The beetles spend about 90 percent of their time in the heated flowers, where they feed on the pollen and fertilise the flowers. This is not the first heat generating flower to be found. More that 900 plants are known to heat their flowers.

Editorial Comment: This well designed, warm relationship between insects and flowers makes us think of the good world God originally created - a world that worked by co-operation, not an evolutionary struggle for existence. (Ref. beetles, flowers, temperature, thermoregulation)

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