The Daily Telegraph
Bees have eye for blossoms’ pattern
Bees rely heavily on flower patterns – not just colours – when searching for nectar and pollen, research found.
Previous studies suggested that honeybees primarily use their eyes to discriminate between shades of colour when distinguishing various blossoms, as they have low-resolution vision.
Scientists believed that in order for pollinators to tell flowers apart, the plants evolved different petal colours.
But new research suggests pollinators can “very effectively” distinguish between different species of flower using a combination of colour and pattern – meaning flowers can also use patterns to diversify their displays.
Prof Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, of the University of Exeter, who led the study, said: “Our findings suggest that flowers don’t need to evolve too many different petal colours, because they can use patterns to diversify their displays so bees can tell them apart from other flowers.”