04 Insect and Flower Coevolution with Izzy Sharpe

Izzy set up a camp in their backyard. It was the first time Izzy was allowed to sleep out there on her own. Although, she wasn’t really alone. Her dog, Monte, stayed by her side. It wasn’t long before Izzy’s imagination took them to the desert shrub area of the Grand Canyon.

izzy-and-monte-in-tent

The sun lowered and brightened the sky with reds and oranges. Izzy noticed a white flower starting to bloom after the sun disappeared over the horizon. She rummaged through her tent and found a botany guide. The flower shone bright in the moonlight. Soon another creature became interested in the flower.

hawk-moth-feeding

Izzy found the flower and its admirer in the guide book: the sacred datura flower and a hawk moth. Under the night’s sky, the hawk moth fed from the sacred datura flower. It’s proboscis, which is similar to a tongue, extended down the flower to reach its sweet nectar. After the moth fed, it flew off to the next flower, and Izzy fell asleep.

The Explanation

Flowers and insects have a symbiotic relationship. This means that both benefit from the other. Flowers have pollen and nectar which is food for insects. In turn, insects are the flower’s pollinator. When insects feed, they pick up the pollen and carry it to another flower.

In addition, the hawk moth and sacred datura flower are an example of coevolution. Coevolution is when two living things have influenced how the other evolved. The hawk moth is nocturnal. So the sacred datura flower blooms at night when its matching pollinator is active.

Coevolution between the hawk moth and the sacred datura flower

 

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