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Bumblebees identify flowers by their scent, new research reveals | The Independent

How the insects make a beeline for flowers’ pollen

Far from flying from one flower to another, bumblebees actively seek out the flowers they are targeting by identifying the invisible patterns of scent the petals give off, new research has found.

A team of scientists from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Bristol studied how the arrangement of cells on flowers’ petals are arranged in patterns and are recognised and learned by bees, enabling them to distinguish between flowers.

They found that bees which land at the edge of a flower find that the edge of the petals may smell different to the centre and some have lines of cells with scents that guide bees and other pollinating creatures towards the nectar.

“If you look at a flower with a microscope, you can often see that the cells that produce the flower’s scent are arranged in patterns,” said Dr Dave Lawson, from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences. “By creating artificial flowers that have identical scents arranged in different patterns, we are able to show that this patterning might be a signal to a bee.

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Sorgente: Bumblebees identify flowers by their scent, new research reveals | The Independent

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