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Plants and Animals

Bigger Bumblebees Are More Choosy About Which Flowers They Visit

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The view of a pollen-laden blowing from flower to flower in the summer months is a pleasant sight, as these vague friends are important for pollination. A new study of current biology on buffalo-tailed bumblebee (Bombus Terrestris) suggests that shape is of little importance to these insects when it comes to learning the location of flowers.

The first author of the study Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, associate professor of neuroethology at the University of Exeter, said in a statement, “It may not be widely known that pollinating insects learn and develop individual flower preferences, but in reality, corn is chosen.” When exiting the newly found flower, the bees perform a “learning plane” where the bee will turn towards the flower’s face. This allows it to take on the look of the flower and its surroundings. This means that “after the flower has left, they can actively decide how much effort should be put into remembering its location,” said Professor Hempel de Ibarra. “The surprising finding of our study is that bee size determines this decision-making and learning behavior.” Researchers place artificial flowers in greenhouses that contain 10, 20, 30, or 50 percent sucrose. A camera captured the bees to learn the bees and saw that they had raised more sucrose in the face of their duration and time “flowers”.

The researchers then focused on the significance of bee size, as measured by the width of the chest, the middle part where the wings are attached. Among these tests, 20 and 50 percent sucrose solution reactions were tested. It has been found that the responses of large bees differ from those of small bees.

For small bees, there was no difference in flight learning between high and low sucrose percentages. Larger bees, however, spent more on the “flower” face and had to learn longer when it had 50 percent sucrose and less time when it had 20 percent. They also studied the number of bees they drank. Large bees drank more when the sucrose concentration was 50 percent. The little bee didn’t show up as much as a choice.

These results indicate that larger bees learn very little about low-yielding flowers and focus on high-yielding ones, whereas smaller bees are less picky. It can descend under different sized bees of different sizes in the colony. “Big clowns can carry big loads and explore more from home than small ones. Smaller ones with a smaller flight range and carrying capacity are not as capable as being selective, so they adopt a wider range of flowers. These small bees are more involved in work inside the nest – only to graze if the food supply in the colony is low,” Professor Hempel de Ibarra explains.