Honeybees may get all the rock star attention, but the humble Australian native blue-banded bee is a accurate head banger.
Experts have captured the distinctive pollination tactics of the bee (Amegilla murrayensis) in slow motion video as it pollinates a cherry tomato flower.
“Tomatoes (and numerous Australian native vegetation) are ‘buzz pollinated’: the flower is like a salt and pepper shaker and bees shake the pollen out by means of pores in the anthers,” said native bee expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn from the College of Adelaide.
Dr Hogendoorn and her colleagues found the blue-banded bee receives the pollen by banging its head on the flower’s anthers at a staggering 350 instances a second.
This suggests that Australian blue-banded bees may be far more productive tomato pollinators than bumblebees.
Dr Katja Hogendoorn
“When you translate that to acceleration, it is nearly crazy stages, between the optimum we’ve mentioned in the animal kingdom,” mentioned Dr Hogendoorn’s colleague, Dr Sridhar Ravi from RMIT University.
The bee retains the flower with its legs although vibrating its thorax muscle tissue. It then by some means transfers these vibrations to its head.
These vibrations generally push the bee’s wings, but in this scenario the wings are disengaged and the power is utilised to vibrate the anther.
Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) in North The us also excitement pollinate, but they do it directly with their upper body muscles, vibrating at 240 instances for every second.
Dr Hogendoorn explained that not only do blue-banded bees vibrate the flower at a larger frequency than bumblebees, but spend less time for each flower.
“Together, this suggests that Australian blue-banded bees may possibly be much more efficient tomato pollinators than bumblebees,” she mentioned.
The research will be revealed in an forthcoming issue of the journal Arthropod Plant Interactions.
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Subjects: animal-behaviour, science-and-technology, invertebrates—bugs-and-arachnids, australia