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Q: Flower formed by many insects ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Flower formed by many insects
Category: Science
Asked by: maisy-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 28 Dec 2005 02:54 PST
Expires: 27 Jan 2006 02:54 PST
Question ID: 610390
While studying animal communication in the 80s, I read about a flower
that was totally formed by differing colored insects....lighter near
the center, then gradually getting darker on the outer rim. The center
was all yellow. When disturbed, these insects would fly away, then
return to the exact proper place to form the flower again...yellow to
the center, etc.
I cannot find any reference anywhere and my friends think I made it
up. Can you help me prove I am not a liar???
Subject: Re: Flower formed by many insects
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 28 Dec 2005 13:02 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I believe your insect is the flatid (or flattid), a type of planthopper.

"In African Genesis, Robert Ardrey mentions an example that seems to
me a conclusive argument against total, uncompromising Darwinism: the
flattid bug. He was standing with the anthropologist L.B.S. Leakey,
looking at a coral-coloured blossom like a lilac. Leakey touched the
twig, and the flower dissolved into a swarm of tiny insects. A few
minutes later the insects re-settled on the twig, crawled over one
another's back, and once again became a coral-cloured blossom, a
flower which does not exist in nature. Some of the insects were green;
some were half green and half pink; others were deep coral; they
arranged themselves so as to look like a flower with a green tip."

Right to Wisdoms Archive: Evolution or Intelligent Design

"The Auchenorrhyncha are favourite prey of various animals including
birds, reptiles and other arthropods. In order to defend themselves,
cicadas rely on camouflage and are excellent fliers. In addition to
jumping to avoid predators the remaining Auchenorrhyncha use various
other means of defence including coating their bodies and eggs with a
wax-like secretion, living in spittle, gaining protection from ants
and bees in exchange for their excreted honey dew, living underground
and mimicry--one harmless leafhopper looks identical to a stinging
wasp, a group of flatid bugs bears an uncanny resemblance to a flower
stalk and a fulgorid bug has evolved to look just like a lizard."

Natural History Museum: Hemiptera...It's a Bug's Life

The ability of flatids to mimic flowers was mentioned in a 1964 Alfred
Hitchcock film, "Marnie." That's where I first heard of them:

"In Africa, in Kenya, there's quite a beautiful flower. It's coral
coloured with little green-tipped blossoms, rather like a hyacinth. If
you reach out to touch it, you'd discover that the flower was not a
flower at all, but a design made up of hundreds of tiny insects called
Fattid [sic] bugs. They escape the eyes of hungry birds by living and
dying in the shape of a flower."

Script-O-Rama: Marnie Script

When "Marnie" was released, in 1964, I was a college student. My
curiosity was piqued by the description of bugs that cluster together
to mimic flowers. When I consulted my biology professor about this, he
set me right on the spelling: "flatid" or "flattid," rather than

I hope this is exactly what you're looking for. If not, or if anything
is unclear or incomplete, please request clarification; I'll be glad
to offer further assistance before you rate my answer.

Best regards,
maisy-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
EXACTLY what I wanted!!! Now I can prove I was not making it up. THnak
you so so much!

There are no comments at this time.

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