Source: New York Times
Nectar That Gives Bees a Buzz Lures Them Back for More
By JAMES GORMAN
Published: March 7, 2013
Nothing kicks the brain into gear like a jolt of caffeine. For bees, that is.
And they don’t need to stand in line for a triple soy latte. A new study shows that the naturally caffeine-laced nectar of some plants enhances the learning process for bees, so that they are more likely to return to those flowers.
“The plant is using this as a drug to change a pollinator’s behavior for its own benefit,” said Geraldine Wright, a honeybee brain specialist at Newcastle University in England, who, with her colleagues, reported those findings in Science on Thursday.
The research, other scientists said, not only casts a new light on the ancient evolutionary interaction between plants and pollinators, but is an intriguing confirmation of deep similarities in brain chemistry across the animal kingdom.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/sc...ists-find.html