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07-21-2007, 08:04 AM #1LissGuest
For the Gardeners on List. . . Bees Have Favorite Color
I thought the following article was kind of neat. If you're
interested in attracting lots of honey bee's when you're gardening
(perhaps you have a hive or 2), you might find this helpful. ~liss
Bees Have Favorite Color
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience
posted: 19 June 2007 10:38 pm ET
There might actually be a useful purpose for having a favorite color—
at least if you're a bee.
The favorite color of the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris),
violet in its case, could help it find more sweet nectar, scientists
Researchers took bees that had never seen real flowers from nine
southern Germany bumblebee colonies and exposed them to violet or
blue artificial flowers in the lab. The investigators found these
bees—one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe—often
prefer violet to blue, seemingly innately.
The scientists then let bumblebees from the same colonies forage for
nectar from real flowers in their natural habitat. The violet flowers
where the bees dwell produced far more nectar than the next most
rewarding flower color, blue. So bee colonies that preferred violet
harvested more nectar, findings detailed in the June 20 issue of the
journal PLoS ONE.
"If you talk with friends, everyone has favorite colors, and now we
find these might actually be useful," said researcher Nigel Raine, a
University of London evolutionary ecologist.
Past research has shown animals often have favorite colors, smells
and other signals when it comes to choosing a mate, but little
research has been carried out concerning how such sensory preferences
affect searches for food. These new findings suggest the bumblebees
developed their favorite color over time to coincide with the most
nectar-rich flowers available. Indeed, violet or blue flowers are
often the most rewarding flower colors in many habitats.
The work could have implications for other species, "with inbuilt
sensory biases helping out inexperienced animals," Raine
suggested. "We might expect monkey species living in thick forest to
prefer reddish colors to help them to find ripe fruits against the
predominantly green background."
Article from LiveScience.com