Neat trick for spreading your family

Published April 25, 2020

When Streptomyces bac­te­ria pro­duce spores, they also emit a com­pound called geosmin. The “strong, earthy whiff” of geosmin attracts spring­tails — tiny arthro­pods that eat the bac­te­ria, but also (cru­cial­ly) end up get­ting the spores stuck to their bod­ies and spread­ing them to oth­er places.

Fun fact: One retired biol­o­gist thinks the scent of geosmin might also help camels find water in the desert.

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