Flower colour is traditionally viewed as a method by which a plant advertises its nectar, a sweet reward for ensuring pollination, to hungry insects.
However, a recent collaborative study by the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University London has revealed that bees will choose flowers of a certain colour if they have learned that it indicates warmth as well.
Dr Heather Whitney, Miss Sarah Arnold, Dr Adrian Dyer and Dr Beverley Glover, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Professor Lars Chittka, Queen Mary University London, published their findings in this week's issue of Nature.
Dr Whitney stated, "It has been observed that flowers with warming structures attract basking insects, and previous work has shown that insects can obtain a metabolic reward from warmer flowers. However, this is the first time it has been shown that insects can use other cues, such as colour, to preferentially seek out warmer flowers."
These findings indicate that varying temperatures of plants may be an adaptation to encourage pollinators to visit flowers. As flower temperature varies widely, it is believed that the heat may influence which plant the pollinator chooses to visit (depending on the insect's temperature preference).
Like many other insect pollinators, bumblebees invest energy in keeping their body temperature above the ambient level. On cold days, they must warm themselves up before they can fly far. Researchers discovered that, in an effort to conserve energy, bees will select warmer flowers identified by their colour to stay cosy. When tested, bumblebees consistently chose warmer flowers over cooler flowers containing the same nectar reward.
Dr Glover stated, "We're very excited by this result as it suggests that a whole range of structures act as potential pollinator attractants. We can now re-evaluate the roles of lens-shaped petal cells, sun-tracking by flowers, light and heat absorbing pigments and specialised surface structures, all of which may be part of a plant's bag of tricks for attracting pollinators."
Genevieve Maul | EurekAlert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences