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dust_and_shadow:walking_exercises [2019-09-10 08:18]
maja
dust_and_shadow:walking_exercises [2019-09-10 08:33] (current)
maja
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 <​blockquote>​We’ll start with the Joshua tree, the Mojave Desert’s most iconic plant. With its spiny fronds and clubbed tufts topped by pungent, waxy flowers twisting towards the desert sky, this desert-adapted shrub has a reputation for otherworldliness. ​ (...) Few travelers, however, wax poetic about its evolutionary partner, the yucca moth. The small, dun bug is initially unassuming, but upon closer inspection, it is an equally extraterrestrial match for the iconic Joshua tree. Instead of a regular mouthpiece, it sports bizarre, tentacle-like fronds, the likes of which are unique among insects—and serve an essential purpose in the desert ecosystem. Without nectar to attract pollinators,​ Joshua trees rely solely on this unassuming moth for pollination. Yucca moths use their dexterous jaw appendages to collect pollen from Joshua tree flowers and deposit it on the female parts of each flower as the moth moves between blooms. In turn, the moth lays her eggs with its thin, blade-like ovipositor on the flowers’ seeds. When they hatch, the yucca moth caterpillars eat the seeds—their only food source—before crawling to the ground to form cocoons. And the cycle begins again. ​ <​blockquote>​We’ll start with the Joshua tree, the Mojave Desert’s most iconic plant. With its spiny fronds and clubbed tufts topped by pungent, waxy flowers twisting towards the desert sky, this desert-adapted shrub has a reputation for otherworldliness. ​ (...) Few travelers, however, wax poetic about its evolutionary partner, the yucca moth. The small, dun bug is initially unassuming, but upon closer inspection, it is an equally extraterrestrial match for the iconic Joshua tree. Instead of a regular mouthpiece, it sports bizarre, tentacle-like fronds, the likes of which are unique among insects—and serve an essential purpose in the desert ecosystem. Without nectar to attract pollinators,​ Joshua trees rely solely on this unassuming moth for pollination. Yucca moths use their dexterous jaw appendages to collect pollen from Joshua tree flowers and deposit it on the female parts of each flower as the moth moves between blooms. In turn, the moth lays her eggs with its thin, blade-like ovipositor on the flowers’ seeds. When they hatch, the yucca moth caterpillars eat the seeds—their only food source—before crawling to the ground to form cocoons. And the cycle begins again. ​