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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Stripes and Scarlets All the Buzz
12 October 2010 12:06 pm
If gentlemen prefer blondes, bees prefer highlights and redheads. A new study reveals that bumblebees prefer red flowers over any other color tested—although striped flowers run a close second. To determine the insects' color preferences, researchers planted four different patches of flowers with 48 snapdragons each—24 red and 24 of either ivory, white, pink, or bright-pink stripes on a white background—and watched for 3 weeks to see which flowers drew more bees. The red blossoms pulled in the vast majority of visits: 80% when mixed with ivory, 76% with white, and 64% with pink. Only when mixed with the striped flowers did they fall to a statistically insignificant 55%. The researchers believe the stripes attract bees because they help guide them to the nectar in the center of the flower, they report today in New Phytologist. The preference for red is odd, however, considering that bees technically can't see red; their eyes have receptors for only green, blue, and ultraviolet light. The scientists speculate that they may perceive the color in contrast to other, lighter colors, much as how humans see the color black.
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