Madrid, 7 (European press)
Bees have low-resolution vision (about 100 times less than human vision), so they can clearly see the flower pattern only when they are a few centimeters away.
However, the new study led by the University of Exeter shows that bees can very effectively distinguish between different flowers using a combination of color and pattern.
In a series of tests, bees rarely ignored the pattern, indicating that color alone does not drive them to flowers. This may help explain why some of the colors visible to bees are rarely produced by flowers in the wild.
“We studied a lot of data on plants and the behavior of bees,” Professor Natalie Hempel de Ibarra of the Exeter Center for Animal Behavior Research said in a statement.
“By training and testing bees with artificial patterns of shape and color, we have found that they depend loosely on their ability to see these two elements. Showing how insects see colors and learn color patterns is important to understanding how pollinators can create evolutionary ‘pressures’ on the colors and patterns they have developed. flowers.
“Our findings suggest that flowers do not need to develop with many different petal colors, because they can use patterns to diversify their presentations so that bees can distinguish them from other flowers.”
A consistent feature identified in the study is that the outer edges of the flowers generally contrast strongly with the foliage, while the center of the flower does not contrast strongly with the color of the foliage.
This can help bees quickly recognize color differences and move to flowers.
While flowers can be beautiful to humans, Humble de Ibarra stressed that understanding more about bees and the threats they face means we need to see the world “through the eyes and mind of a bee.”