Buzzing by buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris audax) workers throughout pollen foraging is significantly a lot more potent than that utilised for defense or flight, according to new study from the University of Stirling.
The buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Image credit: Marta Boroń / CC BY two..
“Buzz-pollinated flowers represent some of the most important economic crops, such as potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and blueberries,” stated Dr. David Pritchard, a researcher in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling.
“We found that flower buzzes were much more powerful than those used for defense or flight — suggesting that, rather than being due to drag, bumblebees might have evolved different types of buzzes for different tasks.”
Previous research have identified variations among flight buzzing and defensive buzzing.
During flight buzzing, bumblebees’ wings flap, nonetheless, throughout defensive buzzing they do not — for that reason, it was not clear regardless of whether buzzing variations had been triggered by flapping wings, or not.
To additional fully grasp the problem, Dr. Pritchard and his colleague, Dr. Mario Vallejo-Marin from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling, looked at flower buzzing, throughout which the bumblebees’ wings do not flap.
Flower buzzing happens when bumblebee vibrate flowers to shake pollen onto their bodies.
“We know that bees use their distinctive buzzing vibrations for lots of different tasks and, for this study, we wanted to understand whether buzzes differed by task — or if variations in buzzing were caused by drag on the wings,” Dr. Pritchard stated.
During the experiment, buff-tailed bumblebees foraged on a buzz-pollinated flower, performed a tethered flight, or had been encouraged to carry out a defensive buzz by way of a gentle stroke of their physique.
The scientists utilised a laser to scan a reflective tag on the bees’ bodies to measure the speed of movement 10,000 occasions per second, with the information analyzed by laptop or computer.
They discovered that flower buzzing made forces of a lot more than 50G — 5 occasions that knowledgeable by fighter jet pilots.
“We found that flower buzzes were much more powerful than buzzes used for defense or for flight — suggesting that, rather than being due to drag on the wings, bumblebees might have evolved different types of buzzes for different tasks,”
“Flower buzzing is important to understand because not all bees can buzz flowers.”
“For example, we still do not understand why honeybees do not buzz flowers.”
“By better understanding how flower buzzes appear and differ from the other vibrations bees produce, it may shed light on the reasons why some bees buzz flowers and some do not.”
The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
David J. Pritchard & Mario Vallejo-Marín. 2020. Floral vibrations by buzz-pollinating bees accomplish greater frequency, velocity and acceleration than flight and defence vibrations. Journal of Experimental Biology 223: jeb220541 doi: 10.1242/jeb.220541