Harun Yahya - Plant Gives Insects a Warm Welcome

Plant Gives Insects a Warm Welcome



Cold-blooded creatures need to warm up their bodies to obtain the energy necessary for any activity. This need is met by lying in the sun. However, according to a new research, it has emerged that insects have a heating center that other cold-blooded creatures don't. Some insects warm up their bodies in a hitherto unknown area: on plants.

Roger Seymour, a biologist from the University of Adelaide, Australia, states that some 900 species of plant are known to produce heat in their flowers. This heat, the generation mechanism of which is unknown, permits scents that attract pollinating insects to be dispersed. A report published by Seymour and his colleagues in Nature has revealed that this heat can also be an incentive for pollinating insects. (1)

The researchers investigated the plant Philodendron solimoesense, which grows in French Guiana and is pollinated by the insects of the species Cyclocephala colasi. The scientists placed small devices inside the plant's flowers, and found that heat was produced at night, 4°C warmer than the temperature of the outside environment. This heat attracted groups of insects to the plant.

The team then moved on to an investigation of the feeding insects' energy requirements, using a respirometer - a device that records the energy used by insects. Placing the insects in the device, the researchers revealed that they needed more energy to keep their bodies warm outside the plant: An insect warming up at night outside the flower consumed two to five times more energy than an insect inside the flower.

Seymour states that it is "enormously expensive" for small insects such as C. colasi to remain warm, because they lose heat quickly. Thanks to these heat-emitting plants, the insects can devote more energy to feeding and reproduction. This plant represents such a comfortable and useful environment for the insects that they spend 90% of their time in the warmth of the flowers.

The mutual aid between the plant and the insect represents an amazing example of cooperation. To summarize, a plant unable to move from its location needs a vehicle to carry its pollen to other plants. This need is met by insects that act just like delivery vans. Insects, on the other hand, find it difficult to warm their bodies at night. As temperatures fall, they have to expend a large part of their energy on making good this deficit.

At this point a development takes place that meets the needs of both organisms: The plant raises its body temperature about 4°C warmer than the ambient night temperature. This is made possible by special arrangements in the plant's physiology.

But how did this heating behavior first come about? To put it another way, what could have triggered the physiological bases of this? Could the plant have thought of attracting insects in order to meet its needs, and have examined the physiology of the insect in terms of its need to obtain heat and realized that it would be a rational tactic to provide the insect with heat during the night? Of course, not. The plant doesn't even have a brain with which to think anything. Since all this could not have been calculated by the plant, then there must be a superior intellect that did calculate it. That superior intellect very definitely belongs to Almighty God. God brought plant and insect into being, and endowed them with the features with which to meet one another's needs. He creates countless such cooperative relationships and ensures that life in nature continues in harmony. It is He Who meets all the needs of living things. Our Almighty Lord, however, stands in need of nothing at all.

As revealed in the Qur'an:

Say: "He is God, Absolute Oneness, God, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. He has not given birth and was not born. And no one is comparable to Him." (Qur'an, 112:1-4)

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1- Roger S. Seymour et al., "Environmental biology: Heat reward for insect pollinators", Nature 426, 243 - 244 (20 November 2003); doi:10.1038/426243a