Rare flower makes fake bee blood to lure pollinating insects

A jackal fly feeding on “fake blood” secreted by a Ceropegia gerrardii flower

Annemarie Heiduk

A rare South African plant produces a fluid and scent that mimic honeybee blood to entice scavenging jackal flies to pollinate its flowers.

Jackal flies from the genus Desmometopa ordinarily feed on the blood of insects, especially honeybees, that have been killed by spiders and praying mantises. They are alerted to the presence of a free meal by the smell of spilt bee blood, or haemolymph.

Annemarie Heiduk at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa …

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