12 Aug 11
We’re all pretty comfortable with the fact that some flowers have evolved to attract pollinators with their bright colors and intriguing smells, right? But what about when your pollinator relies on hearing for navigation instead of sight?
The Marcgravia evenia plant relies on bats to pollinate its flowers. But given that their target animals rely on echolocation rather than eyesight, these plants have evolved leaves that are attractive audibly rather than visually. The plant’s leaves are uniquely dish-shaped, with almost hemispherical concave curves. When the bats go out flying, the leaves return an echo that’s louder and broader than other plants, making them easier for the bats to detect — and halving the time it takes to find the foliage.
The World Through a Bat’s Ear