HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
UC Davis science, engineering and technology newstips -- March

m; Andy Fell, (530) 752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu.

HUMMINGBIRDS AVOID NECTAR-ROBBED FLOWERS

When hummingbirds forage for nectar in the mountains of Colorado, they avoid flowers that have already been raided by nectar-robbing bumblebees. They do this without having to see the nectar, or remember which plants they have visited before, according to postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Irwin at the University of California, Davis.

Broad-tailed and rufous hummingbirds feed on nectar from the long red flowers of scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata). The birds play an important role in pollinating the plants. But bumblebees also have a taste for nectar. The bees chew holes in the base of the flower to get at the nectar, and do not help pollinate the plants. Nectar-robbed plants are less likely to get pollinated and produce up to 50 percent less seed, said Irwin.

Irwin simulated nectar robbing by artificially removing or adding nectar to flowers, then watched hummingbirds feeding on them. The birds were less likely to visit a plant without nectar, and probed fewer flowers on plants they did visit.

Two possible explanations are that the birds use visual clues that tell them the flower is empty, or that they remember robbed flowers from previous visits, she said.

To block visual clues, she painted over the flower bases to disguise bee holes and nectar content. Despite this, the birds still went for the full flowers.

To test the bird's spatial memory, Irwin set up full and empty flowers in an aviary and let the birds get used to them. Then she moved the flowers around. The birds still went to the full flowers, without wasting energy on empty ones.

Irwin has some more theories to test on why the birds pick the right flowers. One is that their wingbeats make the flowers vibrate, and full flowers have a different frequency to empty ones. She will be testing these ideas in ne
'"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
13-Mar-2001


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Controversial UK badger killings analyzed by UC Davis expert
2. New angle needed to get pike out of Lake Davis
3. UC Davis to begin identifying eligible families for study on environmental factors in autism
4. NSF establishes center for biophotonics at UC Davis
5. UC Davis mathematician, neuroscientist win Sloan Fellowships
6. Next-generation AIDS vaccine for healthy individuals being tested for safety, tolerability at UC Davis
7. UC Davis first cloned calf born, succumbs three days later
8. UC Davis biomedical engineering department awarded $12 million by Whitaker Foundation
9. UC Davis study finds breastfeeding may protect bones in teen-age mothers
10. UC Davis, Santa Barbara get $6 million to help estuaries
11. UC Davis study finds heart benefits from apples & juice

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/21/2016)... 2016 NuData Security announced today that Randy ... principal product architect and that Jon Cunningham ... development. Both will report directly to Christopher ... reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product and ... demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 ... by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and ... banking applications are expected to drive the market ... ) , The development of advanced ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is ... log work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377486LOGO ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features ... will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced a ... sciences incubator to accelerate the development of new therapies ... QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life science and ... stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner with one ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The global biomarkers market ... 2013. The market is expected to grow at a five-year compound ... from $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 billion in 2020. ... (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As well, new products approved in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: