Another instance of design in nature:
For many cats, a mere whiff of catnip can send them into a licking, rolling, plant-shredding frenzy.
That destruction amplifies catnip’s natural defenses against insects and its appeal to cats, a new chemical analysis finds. Compared with intact leaves, crushed-up leaves emit more volatile compounds called iridoids, which act as an insect repellant, researchers report June 14 in iScience. The higher emissions also seem to encourage cats to continue rolling around in the remains of the plant, effectively coating themselves in a natural bug spray (SN: 3/4/21).Anil Oza, “Cats chewing on catnip boosts the plant’s insect-repelling powers” at Science News (June 23, 2022)