Aussie bees like warm nectar, according to articles in PLoS ONE 9 Aug 2010 and Biology News Net 18 Aug 2010. Some plants can heat their flowers by concentrating sunlight (e.g. snapdragons) or burning starch, (e.g. water lilies and lotuses). This means they can produce nectar with a higher temperature than the atmosphere. Australian scientists have studied the foraging behaviour of the native bee Trigona carbonaria to see if bees prefer warm nectar. Using artificial flowers, the researchers offered bees a choice of nectar warmer than or the same as daytime ambient temperature. They then observed the bees foraging behaviour at different ambient temperatures. When the ambient temperature was between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius the bees preferred warm nectar. The scientists also measured the temperature of the bees after they had ingested nectar and it seems the warm nectar helps maintain their body temperatures in the range most suitable for flight – 30 to 34 degrees Celsius. When the daytime temperature rose above 30 degrees Celsius the bees preferred unheated nectar. The scientists also noted that plants that heat their flowers, such as the Lotus, also switch from heating their flowers to evaporative cooling as temperatures rise to 34 degrees Celsius.
Editorial Comment: The beautifully matched relationship between bees and flowers is a reminder that God made living things to work in functioning systems. Nothing in the living world works independently, so the idea that plants and animals independently evolved complex complementary functions through naturalistic chance random processes requires an enormous amount of blind faith. Evolution is a process of selfish competition, but the more we study the living world the more we find complex mutual support between living things, the very opposite of a struggle for existence at the expense of other living things. (Ref. mutualism, insects, thermoregulation)
Evidence News 25 Aug 2010