The effect of flower-like and non-flower-like visual properties on choice of unrewarding patterns by bumblebees
How do distinct visual stimuli help bumblebees discover flowers before they have experienced any reward outside of their nest? Two visual floral properties, type of a pattern (concentric vs radial) and its position on unrewarding artificial flowers (central vs peripheral on corolla), were manipulated in two experiments. Both visual properties showed significant effects on floral choice. When pitted against each other, pattern was more important than position. Experiment 1 shows a significant effect of concentric pattern position, and experiment 2 shows a significant preference towards radial patterns regardless of their position. These results show that the presence of markings at the center of a flower are not so important as the presence of markings that will direct bees there.