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Convergent evolution: floral guides, stingless bee nest entrances, and insectivorous pitchers

Biesmeijer, J. C., Giurfa, M., Koedam, D., Potts, S. G., Joel, D. M. and Dafni, A. (2005) Convergent evolution: floral guides, stingless bee nest entrances, and insectivorous pitchers. Naturwissenschaften, 92 (9). pp. 444-450. ISSN 0028-1042

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00114-005-0017-6

Abstract/Summary

Several recent hypotheses, including sensory drive and sensory exploitation, suggest that receiver biases may drive selection of biological signals in the context of sexual selection. Here we suggest that a similar mechanism may have led to convergence of patterns in flowers, stingless bee nest entrances, and pitchers of insectivorous plants. A survey of these non-related visual stimuli shows that they share features such as stripes, dark centre, and peripheral dots. Next, we experimentally show that in stingless bees the close-up approach to a flower is guided by dark centre preference. Moreover, in the approach towards their nest entrance, they have a spontaneous preference for entrance patterns containing a dark centre and disrupted ornamentation. Together with existing empirical evidence on the honeybee's and other insects' orientation to flowers, this suggests that the signal receivers of the natural patterns we examined, mainly Hymenoptera, have spontaneous preferences for radiating stripes, dark centres, and peripheral dots. These receiver biases may have evolved in other behavioural contexts in the ancestors of Hymenoptera, but our findings suggest that they have triggered the convergent evolution of visual stimuli in floral guides, stingless bee nest entrances, and insectivorous pitchers.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:8331
Uncontrolled Keywords:ANIMAL SIGNALS, COLOR-VISION, RECEIVER PSYCHOLOGY, CARNIVOROUS PLANTS, INNATE PREFERENCE, SEXUAL SELECTION, INSECT, ECOLOGY, SARRACENIACEAE, HYMENOPTERA

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