Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 195, Issue 3, pp 319–323

Flower patterns are adapted for detection by bees

Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-009-0412-0

Cite this article as:
Hempel de Ibarra, N. & Vorobyev, M. J Comp Physiol A (2009) 195: 319. doi:10.1007/s00359-009-0412-0


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.


VisionVisual ecologyPollination ecologyBeesFlowers



Short-wavelength photoreceptors


Middle-wavelength photoreceptors


Long-wavelength photoreceptors

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurobiologie, Institut für BiologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, School of PsychologyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  3. 3.Department of Optometry and Vision ScienceUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand