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Multimodal cues provide redundant information for bumblebees when the stimulus is visually salient, but facilitate red target detection in a naturalistic background

AutorTelles, Francismeire J.; Corcobado, Guadalupe ; Trillo, Alejandro; Rodríguez-Gironés, Miguel Ángel
Fecha de publicación2017
EditorPublic Library of Science
CitaciónPLoS ONE, 12(9): e0184760 (2017)
ResumenOur understanding of how floral visitors integrate visual and olfactory cues when seeking food, and how background complexity affects flower detection is limited. Here, we aimed to understand the use of visual and olfactory information for bumblebees (Bombus terrestris terrestris L.) when seeking flowers in a visually complex background. To explore this issue, we first evaluated the effect of flower colour (red and blue), size (8, 16 and 32 mm), scent (presence or absence) and the amount of training on the foraging strategy of bumblebees (accuracy, search time and flight behaviour), considering the visual complexity of our background, to later explore whether experienced bumblebees, previously trained in the presence of scent, can recall and make use of odour information when foraging in the presence of novel visual stimuli carrying a familiar scent. Of all the variables analysed, flower colour had the strongest effect on the foraging strategy. Bumblebees searching for blue flowers were more accurate, flew faster, followed more direct paths between flowers and needed less time to find them, than bumblebees searching for red flowers. In turn, training and the presence of odour helped bees to find inconspicuous (red) flowers. When bees foraged on red flowers, search time increased with flower size; but search time was independent of flower size when bees foraged on blue flowers. Previous experience with floral scent enhances the capacity of detection of a novel colour carrying a familiar scent, probably by elemental association influencing attention
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184760
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/157478
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0184760
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