Short Communication

Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 195, Issue 3, pp 319-323

First online:

Flower patterns are adapted for detection by bees

  • Natalie Hempel de IbarraAffiliated withNeurobiologie, Institut für Biologie, Freie Universität BerlinCentre for Research in Animal Behaviour, School of Psychology, University of Exeter
  • , Misha VorobyevAffiliated withDepartment of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Auckland Email author 

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We have demonstrated previously that honeybees use brightness vision mediated by green (or L-) receptor to detect targets from a long distance. They detect circular targets having a dim, for the L-receptor, centre and bright surround from a longer distance than targets having bright centre and dim surround. Here we show that a majority of bee-pollinated flowers have a centre that, for the L-receptor, is dim with bright surround, i.e. have patterns that are easy for a bee to detect. Flowers with dim for the L-receptor surrounds tend to be larger than those with bright surrounds, indicating that flowers compensate for the impaired visibility of their patterns by increasing the size of their displays.


Vision Visual ecology Pollination ecology Bees Flowers