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August 9, 2022
Science and Medical

First-of-its-kind flower smells like dead insects to imprison ‘coffin flies’

The plant Aristolochia microstoma uses a unique trick: its flowers emit a fetid-musty scent that seems to mimic the smell of decomposing insects. Flies from the genus Megaselia (family Phoridae) likely get attracted to this smell while searching for insect corpses to mate over and lay their eggs in. When they enter a flower, they are imprisoned and first pollinate the female organs, before being covered with pollen by the male organs. The flower then releases them unharmed.

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