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Natural clocks

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As dusk arrives by the bank of an Amazonian lake, the white flowers of the royal water lily open like stars across the water. Immediately, as they begin to open, scarab beetles start to arrive and enter the flowers to feed. The flowers are primed to open at night just as their nocturnal pollinator takes to the air. Once the beetles are inside, the flowers close up and trap the insects within. During the next day the flowers change colour from white to red, in evening they reopen and precisely as they do the pollen is released. The beetles emerge from the base of the central cavity of the flower all sticky from plant juices and the pollen adheres to them. They fly off to find another white flower, and since the water lily produces flowers every second day they will carry the pollen to a different plant and thereby crosspollinate it – a perfect example of how the timing and co-ordination of events is intrinsic to nature.

Keywords: clocks; natural

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9774/GLEAF.978-1-909493-54-4_4

Publication date: September 9, 2005

More about this publication?
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