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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Zoologists figured out how bumblebees are guided by electric fields

The group of scientists under the leadership of Gregory Sutton from the University of Bristol have found new evidence that honeybees and bumblebees can sense the electric field, as well as understand how it works in insects. As it turned out, to notice the electric field bees can due to the hairs covering their body.

photo: pixabay.com

That in addition to color, shape and pattern on the flowers bumblebees in search of nectar are guided by their electric field. However, of exactly how bumblebees are able to detect electric fields, until now it was known to very few. A new study shows that insects help the hairs, which are covered, as well as antennae of the animals.

During the experiments, experts were convinced that the positively charged movements of the wings and muscles the hairs of the bumblebee “stretch” to negatively charged colors, helping, thus, to identify their location. This movement was almost imperceptible, but in his microscope to lock managed. A similar phenomenon was slightly akin to how combed for the first time in human hair are sometimes attracted to the comb.

The hairs of bumblebees were significantly more sensitive to the magnetic field than the antennae, because they were much smaller in size. They turned in the direction of the source magnetic field ten times faster.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previously it was known that the ability to detect electrical fields have sharks and rays. Later it became clear that it is a virtue and some other animals, including the platypus, but they also need to be partially submerged in water. Air does not conduct electricity, so for a long time it was believed that the living entities conducting out of the water almost all the time, don’t feel it. In this respect, the study of bees is helping scientists better understand the phenomenon, to date, has not been studied.

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