Connect to share and comment

Flowers provide grip for bees to hang on during pollination, study shows

According to the study, the bees grasp gaps in conical cells with their tiny claws in order to maintain their balance on the flower during windy days.

bee on flowerEnlarge
Researchers found conical cells in common flowers that help bees stabilize themselves while pollinating. (Wolfgang Kumm/DPA/Getty Images)

Researchers in the United Kingdom found conical cells in common types of flowers that help bees stabilize themselves during pollination.

According to the study, the bees grasp the gaps in the cells with their tiny claws in order to maintain their balance on the flower during windy days.

"Many of our common garden flowers have beautiful conical cells if you look closely - roses have rounded conical petal cells while petunias have really long cells, giving petunia flowers an almost velvety appearance, particularly visible in the dark-coloured varieties," said lead author Beverley Glover of Cambridge University, reported the Telegraph.

Read more on GlobalPostHoneybees disappearing in the US (VIDEO)

“It’s a bit like Velcro, with the bee claws locking into the gaps between the cells,” Glover said, according to Red Orbit.

Previous research by the team has shown that bees prefer flowers with these cells when given the choice.

Mutant plants without the cells to grip were shunned by bees in favor of those with easy-to-grab footholds.

The findings were published in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120529/flowers-provide-grip-bees-hang-during-pollination