Navigation Links
For birds, red means 'go'
Date:3/5/2013

New research has shown that certain Australian native flowers have shifted away from using insects as pollinators and evolved their flower colour to the red hues favoured by birds.

In a study published in New Phytologist, biologists from Monash University and RMIT University have shown for the first time that Australian native flowers exclusively pollinated by birds have evolved colour spectral signatures that are best discriminated by those birds.

Dr Adrian Dyer of Monash and RMIT said previous studies had shown that flower colour evolved to attract bees as pollinators.

"We know that some flowers had evolved spectral signatures to suit bee pollinators, but the story for bird-pollinated flowers was not clear," Dr Dyer said.

Lead author and PhD student Mani Shrestha of the Monash School of Biological Sciences collected spectral data from over 200 flowering plants and identified the pollinators as birds or insects. Then with Associate Professor Martin Burd - also of the School of Biological Sciences - did phylogenetic analyses to identify how the flowers have evolved spectral signatures.

"We found that flowers exclusively pollinated by birds had initially evolved to suit insect vision, but more recently the spectral signature of bird pollinated flowers had shifted towards longer wavelengths," Mr Shesthra said

The research showed that rather than just having any type of red reflection, bird pollinated flowers targeted the specific wavelengths that best match the long wavelength tetrachromatic (four colour) vision of many Australian native birds.

"Bird pollinated flowers may have evolved red signals to be inconspicuousness to some insects that are poor pollinators, whilst also enhancing the discrimination of bird pollinators," Mr Shresthra said.

Associate Professor Burd said the work had broad significance for understanding how flower colours have evolved to suit specific pollinators, and how colour may continue to evolve in particular environments depending upon the availability of effective pollinators.

"The colour cues in Australian flowers would be easily detected by honeyeaters, the most important family of nectar feeding birds in Australia. Hummingbirds in the Americas have similar visual systems to honeyeaters, so we expect to find similar colour signals among American flowers," Associate Professor Burd said.

"But in Asia and Africa, birds with a different type of colour vision are the primary avian pollinators. If flower colours in these regions are tuned to the specific capacities of their own birds, we would have strong evidence that we've cracked the code that plants use to communicate with birds."


'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Walker
emily.walker@monash.edu
61-399-034-844
Monash University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. For young birds, getting stressed out can be a good thing
2. Plant scientists at CSHL demonstrate new means of boosting maize yields
3. Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control
4. Evolutionary straitjacket means flies cant take the heat
5. Glass offers improved means of storing UKs nuclear waste
6. New means of safeguarding world fish stocks proven
7. Science means innovation
8. Preventing home invasions means fighting side-by-side for coral-dwelling crabs and shrimp
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016  Crossmatch ® , ... enrollment solutions, today announced the addition of smart ... Altus multi-factor authentication platform. New contextual and ... to step-up security where it,s needed most — ... Washington, DC . --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... DE SOTO, Kansas , March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... offer Oncimmune,s Early CDT®-Lung, a blood test to ... lung cancer Early CDT®-Lung test to its ... --> Early CDT®-Lung test to its clients which ... Oncimmune, a leader in early cancer detection, today announced ...
(Date:3/1/2016)...  (RSAC Booth #3041) – True fraud costs business ... is lost to false positives, where good customers are ... At the RSA Conference 2016, NuData Security is calling for ... by devaluing the data fraudsters have in abundance in ... --> --> Cheap and readily ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... Q BioMed Inc. (QBIO), a ... Research Inc. will be attending the Association for Research ... May 1-5, 2016 in Seattle Washington ... vendors and research partners. The meeting provides organizations the ... collaborative opportunities for the MAN-01 program for treatment of ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Meister Media Worldwide launches its new and ... functionality give the agricultural world a taste of Meister Media Worldwide’s full menu ... from precision farming via satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to indoor farming ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... StarNet Communications Corp, ( http://www.starnet.com/ ) a leading publisher of ... Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules enable ... user’s PC over encrypted SSH. , Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy the ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the Feline Environmental Enrichment ... veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces the bowl with ... way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , Since being introduced ...
Breaking Biology Technology: