Plant-Insect Interaction: Bee on a man-of-the-earth

Bee (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) on a man-of-the-earth (Ipomoea pandurata, Convolvulaceae) photographed 07/08/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

Although the flower of this man-of-the-earth (Ipomoea pandurata, Convolvulaceae) is beautiful to human eyes, to bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) it looks even brighter and more colorful. Bees can see the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of light, and bee-pollinated plants have evolved to take advantage of that.  If a given plant’s genes make its flowers more attractive to bees, it’s more likely to be pollinated and reproduce. Its genes are then passed on more than its less-attractive neighbors. Over time the genes for more vibrant UV displays are selected by nature, resulting in more plants displaying flowers that are progressively more appealing to bees. It’s coincidental that these flowers look nice to us. Appealing colors in the UV spectrum just happen to translate into appealing colors in the visible spectrum.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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