To find out how Dracula orchids get flies to land on their blossoms researchers 3D printed orchids of their own.
The researchers designed a orchid that looked liked the original and moulded a version out of silicone from the 3D printed model. Silicone is is scent free and allowed the researchers to test their theories.
They found out that the Dracula orchid mimics the form, colour and scent of neighbouring mushrooms which attract flies. First the researchers tested the 3D printed orchid and the flies didn’t react to the orchid. After adding the scent from the mushroom which was measured upfront the team found that the flies started noticing the orchids.
The paper was released in this month New Phytologist.