Some flies can detect chemical signals – alarm pheromones – that bees give off when attacked. Some flowers use that to trick the flies –
A researcher at the University of Bayreuth in Germany has found a fascinating example of plants being deceptive to ensure that they are pollinated — and it is thanks to the help of gas chromatography with electroantennographic (GC-EAD) and mass spectrometry (GC-MS). So, let’s look at the deceptive plants and find out how chromatography helped.
Pollination is simply the transfer of pollen from the male anther to the female stigma — an essential process in the fertilization of many plants. Some plants are self-pollinating and don’t need a bee or other insect to transfer the pollen. But many plants do need a little help from nature in the form of a pollinator. The most widely known pollinators are bees, and they are also one of the most important pollinators for plants that we use and eat — which is why the decimation of bee colonies is causing so much concern. To ensure their survival, some plants actively attract pollinators through various methods, not just relying on their attractiveness to the pollinator. For example, some plants send out chemical signals when they need to be pollinated — attracting the right insects at the right time of year. But some plants are not content to let nature take its course and actively practice the dark art of deception to make sure of their survival.