Navigation Links
Bees attracted to contrasting colors when looking for nectar

Flower colors that contrast with their background are more important to foraging bees than patterns of colored veins on pale flowers according to new research, by Heather Whitney from the University of Cambridge in the UK, and her colleagues. Their observation of how patterns of pigmentation on flower petals influence bumblebees' behavior suggests that color veins give clues to the location of the nectar. There is little to suggest, however, that bees have an innate preference for striped flowers. The work is published online in Springer's journal, Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature.

Very few flowers are a simple block of a single color. Patterns of pigmentation include color patterns within a petal or different colors on different petals. These patterns are thought to be important for pollination. Bees can identify, and are sometimes attracted to, patterned flowers over plain flowers. These patterns can increase the speed with which bees locate the nectar reward in a flower.

Venation patterns - or lines of color on flower petals - are common in Antirrhinum flowers, commonly known as snapdragons. The authors looked at the ways in which these color veins influence bumblebee foraging behavior. They exposed bees who had not seen flowers before to veined, ivory and red types of snapdragon flowers. They observed whether bees could distinguish between ivory and veined flowers and which type of flower they preferred, when they were looking for nectar.

From the bees' perspective, red flowers reflected little light while red veins on ivory flowers slightly changed the color of the flower. The ivory background, however, had the most effect, as it contrasted with the brown background more than the red flowers did. Bees successfully discriminated between ivory and veined flowers but showed no preference for one or the other. In contrast, both ivory and veined flowers were significantly more popular than red flowers.

The authors conclude: "Venation patterns might be prevalent in nature because they can be useful nectar guides, particularly when they also increase flower visibility. But it appears that the color contrast of a flower with its background has a greater influence on bee preference."


Contact: Joan Robinson

Related biology news :

1. Research reveals contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth
2. Looking into a flys eyes
3. Leaner Navy looking at future technology, fleet size and sequestration
4. Looking for the next American hyrax?
5. Better looking birds have more help at home with their chicks
6. Insect-eating bat outperforms nectar specialist as pollinator of cactus flowers
7. Got nectar? To hawkmoths, humidity is a cue
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... 20, 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... the growing mobile commerce market and creator of the ... , was recently interviewed on The RedChip Money ... this weekend on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, ... --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... Nov. 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen ... and other healthcare providers face challenges in better using ... patients. In addition, as more children continue to survive ... adulthood and old age. John M. Maris, ... Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... November 17, 2015 Paris ... 2015.  --> Paris , qui ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé ... passeports et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. ... et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... (the "Company") announced today that the remaining 11,000 ... Common Share Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") ... agreement were exercised on November 23, 2015, which ... Common Shares.  After giving effect to the issuance ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... environment are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot ... InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the ... manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today ... Officer, is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper ... a.m. EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: