In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

In Nature, Sexual Deception is Everywhere You Look

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the beautiful—but sexually deceitful—orchid. Some orchids have evolved to mimic the appearance and scent of female bees in order to lure male bees, which then attempt to have sex with the flowers. This is in the orchid’s interest, of course, because the bees’ actions actually help the orchid to reproduce through pollination. However, it’s not necessarily in the interest of the male bees. 

This kind of sexual deception is hardly unique to orchids—in fact, you can find evidence of it throughout nature.

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The Flower That Tricks Insects Into Having Sex With It

The Flower That Tricks Insects Into Having Sex With It

I keep two plants in my home at all times. One is some leafy thing I bought years ago—I’m not really sure what it is, but it refuses to die and keeps growing taller no matter how infrequently I water it. The other is an orchid. I always like to have one around in bloom because the flowers are just gorgeous. Plus, orchids have a lot of sexual connotations, so it makes sense for me as a sex researcher to keep one around—it’s a sexy plant. However, I’ve come to develop an even greater appreciation for these flowers that goes well beyond their beauty and symbolism—it turns out that orchids actually have fascinating sex lives.

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