The plants in tropical forests have the ability to hide scents to avoid being detected and eaten by insects.
The research, published in the journal Science, reveals how individual species in complex plant groups have evolved to emit the same scents , a tactic that helps them survive and make them survive. insects that eat plants are confused.
For the first time, scientists have been able to analyze the interactions between many plants and insects. (Photo: AFP).
European and North American researchers examined 28 insect species and 20 plant species in the Chamela-Cuixmala rainforest reserve , western Mexico. Professor Phil Stevenson, a researcher at the Royal Kew Royal Plant Institute, emphasizes that the specific scent is both an advantage and a disadvantage to insects. According to the researcher, this is an "information arms race " when plants want to avoid being found and become a bait for animals, by giving off the scent just like other plants.
Lead researcher Pengjuan Zu at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said this was the first time scientists were able to analyze the interactions between plants and insects. Earlier attempts to explore the nature of the game "cat and mouse" in the evolutionary process between plants and insects relied solely on the study of a single plant species in a controlled environment. This is completely different when considering the range of plants and insects that coexist in real forests.
To do this, researcher Zu collected chemical scents emitted by about 20 species of plants into silicon tubes, which were then analyzed by Kew. Through a combination of "information hypotheses", techniques that help to better understand the human-to-human exchange model, and current knowledge of evolutionary biology, researchers have been able to build models. Exchange network between plants and insects. As a result, scientists discovered that all chemicals created by plants contain information that plays an important role, helping plants camouflage in the complex plant community.
The research also helps scientists better understand how information is transmitted between different species in the food chain, such as carnivorous plants and plant-eating insects, opening up prospects for future research.