Home Page Science Frontiers
ONLINE

No. 1: September 1977

Issue Contents





Other pages



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

Australian Mistletoes Mimic Their Hosts

Many species of Australian mistletoes closely mimic their hosts in leaf form and general appearance, blending deceptively into the host's foliage. Plant mimicry for purposes of protection (for example, stone plants) and for propagation are well known and, in the logic of evolutionists, have evolved because of the advantages conferred on the species. Since the Australian mistletoes are evidently highly palatable to arboreal marsupials, the tenets of evolution hold that it is only natural that these mistletoes should develop so as to resemble their hosts for purposes of protection. This is called cryptic or camouflage mimicry. Australian mistletoes parasitize a wide variety of plants, and it is truly marvelous how they can detect and imitate the leaves and appearances of such a wide variety of hosts.

(Barlow, Bryan, and Wiens, Deibert; "Host Parasite Resemblance in Australian Mistletoes," Evolution, 31:69, 1977.)

From Science Frontiers #1, September 1977. 1977-2000 William R. Corliss