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Photosimulacrum

Plant puppet shows
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Lately there have been many articles on plant responses to external stimuli such as specific insects, or mimicry of beneficial insects, which raises many questions such as how exactly does an organism without eyes visually mimic anything else?

The answer would seem to be in the negative spaces, in other words, in the absence of light or at least certain partially obscured wavelengths of light which would allow the cells of a photosynthetic being to interact with external objects.

Today, (and this may be entirely coincidental), I noticed that all of the farthest newest smaller flower-clusters on the south-facing sides of all of a restaurant's outdoor patio planters were casting shadows that mimicked the shape of flittering bees upon the side of the planters they were housed in.
None of the larger varieties of flowers cast an insect-like shadow but the end-growths of all of the smaller varieties like Alyssum and Lobelia had arranged themselves to cast randomly moving bee-like shadows, and the actual bees that I saw around them tended to close in and mimic the waggle of this shadowy-bee before checking out the rest of the bouquet.

Might be something, or it might not be anything at all... I can't even think up any idea to go with it other than as an hypothesis to an experiment.

Check it out. See if you notice the same effect with tiny south-facing flowers in your area.

Cheers.


Do plants think? http://www.scientif...k-daniel-chamovitz/
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 05 2015]

Mimicry in plants. https://en.wikipedi...i/Mimicry_in_plants
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 05 2015]

[link]






       Thanks for fixing the spelling. My stamens were twitching.
lurch, Aug 04 2015
  

       //how exactly does an organism without eyes visually mimic anything else? The answer would seem to be in the negative spaces//   

       This is about as wrong as it's possible to be in the context of evolution. The plant does not look at the insect, decide to mimic it, and then evolve that way.   

       Instead, if a chance mutation happens to make the orchid look a bit more like a bee (for instance), that plant is likelier to be pollinated, and so likelier to leave descendants. Repeat for X million years and you have a flower that looks a lot like a bee.   

       There **are** a few plants which mimic the leaf- shapes and colours of those around them, and which do so responsively (ie, a particular plant will change in response to those around it), but this can also be explained without assuming that the plant can see or has intentions.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2015
  

       I think that if you think you're clever (or even think you think you're clever) then, more or less by definition, you somewhat are.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2015
  

       I do think I think I'm clever, but I'm not sure that means I'm clever; it does however mean that my cleverness has quite a bit of overhead attached, which can count as clever in some circles.
FlyingToaster, Aug 05 2015
  

       //This is about as wrong as it's possible to be in the context of evolution. The plant does not look at the insect, decide to mimic it, and then evolve that way.//   

       Are you sure? Some of these mimicries are pretty specific, like appearing to be the opposite sex of the male insect it is trying to attract as well as mimicking chemical signatures of the female as well.
There's an interesting Scientific American article on the subject. [link]
  

       pssst, the potatoes have eyes, pass it on...   

       //Are you sure? Some of these mimicries are pretty specific, like appearing to be the opposite sex of the male insect it is trying to attract as well as mimicking chemical signatures of the female as well.//   

       Never ask me if I'm sure. I'm _always_ sure.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 06 2015
  

       Heh, that ^ sounds like a winning slogan for a certain feminine hygiene product here.   
      
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