Chameleon is known for its adeptness in camouflaging and this ability is quite common in some animals and insects. Regardless of this ability, they have certain limitations – they can’t take the form of other species, size or shape, but a newly discovered species of vine doesn’t seem to have these limitations at all. Yes, the woody vine Boquila trifoliolata mimics the leaves of its host trees in terms of size, shape, color, orientation, petiole length or tip spininess by transforming its leaves.
Upon climbing new trees, the vine even alters the vein patterns of its leaves to match the surrounding foliage. If the vine shifts to another host with leaves 10 times bigger, it changes in just the right size. The mimicry serves protection against ground herbivores, not only by staying on its host.
Native to Chile and Argentina, B. trifoliolata is the first plant shown to mimic several hosts and unlike some mistletoe species, B. trifoliolata is not parasitic. However, it is not known how it carries out its spotless transformation.
- Source: Sciencemag