Nectar robbing bumblebees are detered from visiting and feeding from Aconitum flowers via alkaloids which are more distasteful to nectar robbers than to pollinating honeybees. Obviously, plants can finely control behaviour of insects using mixtures of alkaloids and other non-nutrient compounds enriched within their nectar exudates.
Plant microRNAs control honeybee caste development by preventing larval differentiation into queens and inducing formation of workers. Especially important in this respect is miRNA162a which targets genes of the TOR complex. Previously, dietary plant microRNAs were reported also in human blood but possible impacts on humans are still not clarified.
Tomato plants attacked by small mottled willow moth caterpillars release chemicals with turn these caterpillars into cannibals. This plant induced caterpillar cannibalism benefit tomatoes in two different ways. Firstly, cannibalism directly reduces vegetarian caterpillar abundance. Secondly, cannibalistic caterpillars eat significantly less tomato leafs.
A Special issue of the Annals of Botany on Developmental Plant Cell Biology, in honour of Peter Barlow
Growing roots locate a water source by sensing the vibrations generated by water moving inside pipes, even in the absence of substrate moisture. When both moisture and acoustic cues were available, roots preferentially used moisture in the soil over acoustic vibrations, suggesting that acoustic gradients enable roots to broadly detect a water source at a distance, while moisture gradients help them to reach their target more accurately.