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Visitation sequence data from: Alternative flowers affect model and mimic flower discrimination performance of bumble bees

Citation

Tsujimoto, Shohei; Ishii, Hiroshi (2021), Visitation sequence data from: Alternative flowers affect model and mimic flower discrimination performance of bumble bees, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9cnp5hqgm

Abstract

Some animal-pollinated flowers produce no rewards but attract pollinators by imitating rewarding flowers. Termed Batesian floral mimicry, this phenomenon has generally been understood in terms of a common system of the organisms performing one of three roles as model flowers, mimic flowers, or signal receivers (a Batesian mimicry trinity). However, organisms other than those of the mimicry trinity may play important roles in the relationships of the trinity members. 

This study examined the effect of alternative flowers that are dissimilar to either model or mimic flowers on bumble bee discrimination between model and mimic flowers. To this end, we observed bumble bees, Bombus ignitus (Smith), foraging in mixed arrays of artificial flowers mirroring either model, mimic, or alternative flowers. 

Bumble bees’ ability to discriminate mimic from model flowers was impacted by the presence of alternative flowers; however, the effect was dependent on the similarity between the model and mimic flowers. This might occur because the presence of alternative flowers imposed an additional cognitive load on the bees’ working memory. 

Our study suggests that alternative flowers in a community may have beneficial effects on mimic flowers by reducing the discrimination performance of pollinators. A variety of environmental factors that impose complex sensory inputs on pollinators’ working memory might have contributed the maintenance of Batesian floral mimicry.

Funding

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: JP15J06079, JP23770017, and JP15K07216