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Insects Use Plants as Telephones

Some insects use plants as telephones, communicating with each other at opposite ends of the plant, researchers have found. Insects that live below ground and feed on a plant's roots send chemical signals via the leaves of the plant, alerting leaf-eating insects that live above ground that the plant is already occupied.

Since both root-eating and leaf-eating insects thrive more on plants that don't have insects eating them from the opposite end, the arrangement works well for both kinds of insects. The communication method keeps insects from unintentionally eating the same plant.

The researchers, from the Netherlands Institute for Ecology, explained that this method of "green telephone" communication has only been studied in a few systems, and they do not know how widespread the phenomenon is.

via: Daily Galaxy