Bees help flowers grow same hues across oceans

June 8th, 2012 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 8 (IANS) Plants separated by vast oceans and 34 million years evolved to produce the same coloured flower petals because of their reliance on bees for pollination, according to new research.

Scientists from the Monash University, the RMIT University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History demonstrated how flowering plants or angiosperms, in Australia and Europe have made use of the same colours to attract bees.

Monash physiologist Adrian Dyer worked with colleagues Bob Wong, Sky Boyd-Gerny and Vera Simonov and Marcello Rosa, professor of physiology, the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports.

Dyer said Australia was a good subject for studying flower evolution because it separated from other continents 34 million years ago. “Australia’s long-term isolation means that species of plants here and in Europe independently evolved to have similarly coloured petals,” Dyer said, according to a Monash statement.

The research showed that certain plants have optimised their petal colours to be easily perceived by bees. Over time, bees have the capacity to learn to associate these flowers with food.

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