Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Function of the heater: the dead horse arum revisited

Angioy AM, Stensmyr MC, Urru I, Puliafito M, Collu I, Hansson BS


The dead horse arum, Helicodiceros muscivorus, is a conspicuous, foul smelling and thermogenic plant of the Araceae family. This Mediterranean arum lily copies several aspects of a carcass in order to attract carrion blowflies, which are subsequently exploited as unrewarded pollinators. We have previously shown that this plant exhibits a highly accurate olfactory carrion mimicry, which serves to attract the blowflies. In this study, we have investigated the role of thermogeny in the arum. We show that the thermogeny has a direct effect on the pollinators, altering their behaviour. By manipulating heat and odour release of the plant, we can show that the heat, produced along the appendix, is important to lure the flies to this structure, which is vital as the flies from the appendix are more prone to enter the trap chamber that houses the female and male florets. This study provides rare evidence for a direct functional role of thermogeny

Published in

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
2004, Volume: 271, pages: S13-S15

      SLU Authors

    • Stensmyr, Marcus

      • Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science
    Food Science
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)