Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7156

Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Are insects flower constant because they use search images to find flowers?
Authors: Goulson, Dave
Contact Email: dave.goulson@stir.ac.uk
Issue Date: Mar-2000
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Goulson D (2000) Are insects flower constant because they use search images to find flowers?, Oikos, 88 (3), pp. 547-552.
Abstract: Many insects which gather nectar or pollen exhibit flower constancy, a learned fidelity to a particular species of plant. Recent studies suggest that foraging insects may use a perceptual mechanism akin to a search image to detect flowers, in a manner analogous to the way that predators search for prey. This has emerged as an alternative (but not mutually exclusive) explanation for flower constancy to that proposed by Darwin, who suggested that it may result from a limited ability to learning or remember the handling skills appropriate for particular flowers. However, search images are thought to be a mechanism for locating cryptic prey. Plants which are pollinated by animals have evolved brightly coloured flowers to attract the attention of their pollinators. It thus seems implausible to argue that flowers may actually be cryptic. One possible explanation for this apparent contradiction is that flowers are effectively cryptic when viewed against a background which contains many other flowers of similar colour. I present experimental evidence which suggests that a background of flowers of similar colour does reduce foraging efficiency of bumblebees, but that a background of dissimilarly coloured flowers has no effect. This I interpret as evidence that flowers may be cryptic, suggesting that pollinators may indeed use a search image in location of flowers. However, the relative importance of constraints on foragers’ abilities to locate flowers versus their abilities to handle them as causes of flower constancy remain to be elucidate
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7156
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.880311.x
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Biological and Environmental Sciences

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