Neat trick for spreading your family

Published April 25, 2020

When Streptomyces bacteria produce spores, they also emit a compound called geosmin. The “strong, earthy whiff” of geosmin attracts springtails — tiny arthropods that eat the bacteria, but also (crucially) end up getting the spores stuck to their bodies and spreading them to other places. Fun fact: One retired biologist thinks the scent of geosmin might also help camels find water in the desert.