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Data from: A sensory bias overrides learned preferences of bumblebees for honest signals in Mimulus guttatus

Citation

Haber, Ariela et al. (2021), Data from: A sensory bias overrides learned preferences of bumblebees for honest signals in Mimulus guttatus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t76hdr808

Abstract

Insect pollinators readily learn olfactory cues, and this is expected to select for “honest signals” that provide reliable information about floral rewards. However, plants might alternatively produce signals that exploit pollinators’ sensory biases, thereby relaxing selection for signal honesty. We examined the innate and learned preferences of Bombus impatiens for Mimulus guttatus floral scent phenotypes corresponding to different levels of pollen rewards in the presence and absence of the innately attractive floral volatile compound β-trans-bergamotene. Bees learned to prefer honest signals after foraging on live M. guttatus flowers, but only exhibited this preference when presented floral scent phenotypes that did not include β-trans-bergamotene. Our results suggest that a sensory bias for β-trans-bergamotene overrides the ability of B. impatiens to use honest signals when foraging on M. guttatus. This may represent a deceptive pollination strategy that allows plants to minimize investment in costly rewards without incurring reduced rates of pollinator visitation.