Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scientis have fun with Dracula orchids andGoblin spiders

Entomologists and botanists like a cool name as much as anyone. A group of orchids famed for luring fruit flies to pollinate them by looking and smelling like mushrooms (the flies' natural preference) are classified in the genus Dracula. Goblin spiders are a very numerous group of small arachnids. Plenty of new species are being added to the spiders, the orchids have proven attractive to some previously unknown species of flies.
But why Dracula? Lorena Endara of the University of Florida explains, "Carlyle Luer, who later segregated Dracula from Masdevallia, sees these orchids as little bats flying in the forest since the flower faces down and the triangular sepals and the long sepaline tails display parallel to the ground."
Happy Halloween!

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