The story of the fig and its wasp

Inside the rounded fruit of a fig tree is a maze of flowers. That is, a fig is not actually a fruit; it is an inflorescence—a cluster of many flowers and seeds contained inside a bulbous stem. Because of this unusual arrangement, the seeds—technically the ovaries of the fig—require a specialized pollinator that is adapted to navigate within these confined quarters. Here begins the story of the relationship between figs and fig wasps....

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Tracking seed-dispersing piranha in the Amazon

Fish are probably not the first animals that leap to mind when thinking of seed dispersers. Squirrels are well-known examples, but researchers have recently tracked a species of frugivorous—that is, fruit-eating—piranha in the Amazon that distribute seeds over more than five kilometers of flood plains. As Daniel Cressey described in a Nature News article, “Although fish have long been suspected of having an important role in seed...

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From the Community: whispering bats, terror birds and x-rays of flowers

Western barbastelle bats in Europe learn to use quieter echolocation when hunting moths, ecologists analyze the importance of and methods for communicating science during times of environmental controversy, researchers map the skull of an extinct terror bird, unraveling this prehistoric carnivore’s hunting behaviors and a photographer produces x-ray images of flowers to showcase their inner beauty.

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