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Peter Kazakov
Peter Kazakov

The Mirror Crack WORK'd

The Mediterranean orchid genus Ophrys is remarkable for its pseudocopulatory pollination mechanism; naïve male pollinators are attracted to the flowers by olfactory, visual and tactile cues. The most striking visual cue is a highly reflective, blue speculum region at the centre of the labellum, which mimics the corresponding female insect and reaches its strongest development in the mirror orchid, O. speculum. We explored the structure and properties of the much-discussed speculum by scanning and transmission electron microscopic examination of its ultrastructure, visible and ultraviolet (UV) angle-resolved spectrophotometry of the intact tissue, and mass spectrometry of extracted pigments. The speculum contrasts with the surrounding labellar epidermis in being flat-celled with a thick, smooth cuticle. The speculum is extremely glossy, reflecting intense white light in a specular direction, but at more oblique angles it predominantly reflects blue and UV light. Pigments in the speculum, dominantly the cyanidin 3-(3''-malonylglucoside), are less diverse than in the surrounding regions of the labellar epidermis and lack quercetin copigments. Several physical and biochemical processes interact to produce the striking and much-discussed optical effects in these flowers, but the blue colour is not produced by structural means and is not iridescent.

The Mirror Crack'd

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Basically, she is not allowed to look out of her window towards Camelot, and so she spends all her time weaving, her only knowledge of the outside world coming from a mirror, reflecting the world outside. And she weaves what she sees:

A wonderfully performed psychological thriller by a perfectly placed cast in this artful adaption of a Marple Mystery by Rachel Wagstaff. The set, a mirrored corridor cleverly transforms the scenes seamlessly from Manor house to movie studio for this classic crime story. 041b061a72


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