Mucuna holtonii

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Mucuna holtonii
Mucuna holtonii, inflorescence
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Mucuna
M. holtonii
Binomial name
Mucuna holtonii

Stizolobium holtonii[1]

Mucuna holtonii is a species of plant in the bean family, which is pollinated by bats. Bats are able to detect if the flowers have nectar using echolocation.[2][3] After an initial bat visit during which nectar is removed, the petals are arranged in a different manner (altering the shape of the flower). As a result, the unique "echo fingerprint" of petal arrangement informs the bat whether nectar is present or absent.

It is thought that the plant evolved acoustically conspicuous structures to make them easier to detect by glossophagine bats.[3]


  1. ^ IPNI
  2. ^ *D. von Helversen and O. von Helversen. "Object recognition by echolocation: a nectar feedingbat exploiting the flowers of a rain forest vine". in Journal of Comp. Physiol. A. (2003) 189: 327-336.
  3. ^ a b von Helversen & von Helversen (1999) Acoustic guide in bat-pollinated flower Nature 398:759-760.