Why would a fungus want or need to create light? According to the Wet Tropics Management Authority, no one knows why many species use bioluminescence, but across its incredible evolutionary history, in circumstances of such windlessness, the fungi would appear to have adapted through mimicry of the flightless, female firefly. The fungus emits an indistinguishable light from an identical chemical reaction to lure the male firefly into making contact, who then carries the spores throughout the forest on his journey ahead.
Why is the flower of the bottlebrush orchid (Dendrobium smilliae) so attractive to green tree ants (Oecophilla smaragdina)?
In an ABC news article by Dani Cooper, Anne Gaskett (a PhD student from Macquarie University in Sydney) offers some interesting insight:
Ms Gaskett used a spectrometer to analyse the colours of a female wasp of the species whose males pollinate five species of native tongue orchid.
Taking into account factors including the background colour, ambient light and colour range of the male wasp’s receptors, she found the orchid replicates almost exactly the colours of the female orchid dupe wasp. She has also found ‘hidden shapes’ that feel like a female wasp to the male, including ‘love handles’ the male wasp grip onto while mating.
Perhaps the prominent dark-green glossy aspects of the bottlebrush orchid present an irresistible abdominal similarity to the ants.