A new study recently showed flowers' invisible tactic to possibly attract their pollinators. The researchers showed that bumblebees, specifically, may use a flower's humidity to tell them about the presence of nectar.

A ScienceDaily report specified that this new research has shown that the said insects can precisely detect and choose between flowers that have different levels of humidity next to the flower's surface.

The study, conducted by the Universities of Bristol and Exeter scientists, showed that bees could be taught and trained to distinguish between two types of artificial flowers with different humidity levels if only one of the flower types provided the bee with sugar water a reward.

To guarantee that the artificial flowers copied the humidity patterns observed in actual flowers, the scientists developed a robotic sensor that could precisely gauge the shape of the humidity patterning.

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Science Times - Flowers’ Invisible Tactic: Using Humidity to Attract Bumblebees
(Photo: Alvesgaspar on Wikimedia Commons)
A new study recently showed that bumblebees, specifically, may use a flower’s humidity to tell them about the presence of nectar.


Differentiating Humidity Patterns

Dr. Michael Harap conducted the study, Bumblebees can detect floral humidity, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, while based at the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Bristol, and is also the lead author of the said research.

Commenting on their findings, he said it's known that different species of plants produce flowers that have unique patterns of humidity that are different from the surrounding air.

He added that knowing that bees might use such patterns to help them find food shows that flowers have evolved an enormous variety of different tactics of enticing pollinators that use all senses of the pollinator.

According to Professor Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, a University of Exeter's School of Psychology associate professor, the study shows that bumblebees don't just use this sensory information to choose their behavior.

They are also capable of learning to differentiate between patterns of humidity in the same way of knowing how they are learning to recognize the color or fragrance of a flower.

Probable Climate Change Impact

Senior lecturer Dr. Sean Rands, from the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences said, if humidity patterns are essential for attracting pollinators, they are possible to be one of many different indications like color, odor, and pattern, that flower is using at the same time, and could help a bee in identifying and handling the flower more efficiently.

He added the humidity patterns' effectiveness might rely upon the humidity of the environment around the flower.

In connection to this, climate change may impact such environmental humidity, which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on a visiting bee since the effectiveness of the humidity pattern will be improved.

How Flowers Attract Bees for Pollination

A HoneybeeHQ article specified that roughly 12 percent of plants with flowers do not actually need "pollination from anything else but the wind."

These plants depend solely on the wind to blow pollen from the flower, then have it deposited on another flower for the fertilization to take place.

Remarkably, these plants frequently have dull flowers and very little smell. Meanwhile, some aquatic plants depend on water to transfer pollen for pollination.

For instance, Rafflesia, described as the incredible Southeast Asian flower, is different and challenges what is stereotypically thought of a flower.

This flower is the largest known worldwide, growing up to an astounding 100 centimeters in diameter and weighing up to 10 kilograms.

Such a flower is in no way trying to entice honeybees, and no one would certainly see it in a floral bouquet in events and flower shops.

Related information is shown on MyGreenLawn's YouTube video below:

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