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Controlled beauty

April 28, 2011

Sometimes you have to admire your enemy. When a midnight blue beetle (Chrysochus pulcher, Chrysomelidae) infests your medicinal plant Gynura divaricata (Apocynaceae), what should you do? He and his associates do cause embarrassing holes in plants of the noble milkweed family. We captured one of the villains and brought him to the servants of the emerald queen (Oecophylla smaragdina, the red ant), but these normally bold esquires feared it! Then we summoned a mercenary from another plant, the handsome praying mantis (Hierodula patellifera). He executed his mission with honour, enabling gentle guests at Dokmai Garden an undisturbed study of an ancient and revered plant used to battle diabetes.

Photo Eric Danell

Photo Shane McCarroll

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