Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Darwin Moth and the Star Orchid

Darwin long noticed that flowers were matched with living creatures that pollinated them. In Madagascar he noticed star orchids with very long passages to their nectar, about 30 cm in length. Darwin asserted that there must be a giant moth with a proboscis – sort of like a drinking straw— long enough to reach the nectar. People laughed at him for saying this, but 41 years after his death, the moth that pollinates the star orchid was discovered. It has a super-long proboscis, just as Darwin predicted. Darwin was right, as usual.

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