Biology as Poetry: Evolutionary Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Mechanical Isolation

Morphological impediments to successful mating.

Perhaps inevitably bringing to mind unfortunate images of great danes and chihuahuas, which is both a realistic and legitimate consideration, in fact mechanical isolation is seen particularly among flowering plants.

In particular, prezygotic barriers to reproduction can include flower shapes that result in the employment by different populations of distinctly different pollinators (a subset of which, alas, have been described as "flying penises").

Mechanical isolation can get plants into trouble. This occurs if flower shapes are too limiting in terms of the breadth of animals that can successfully pollinate. The result can be limitations in plant ranges, that is, to overlapping the range of their pollinators, or even plant extinction if specific pollinators should first go extinct. The dangers of over specialization!

For more on this topic, see Wikipedia  and Google.  Contact web master.  Return to home.