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Male bumblebees as clever as workers

Male bumblebees as clever as workers

Male bees can learn as well as worker bees, which flowers reward with food. This was found in a study from the Queen Mary University of London. Males are thought mainly as simple, with few ability besides mating. The researchers found that male bumblebees were able to associate flower colour with the reward. This complex task was attributed only to worker bees which forage for the colonies.

In the experiment, male and worker bumblebees learned in the same speed and were both able to overcome learned associations, if the rewarding flower type changed. In nature, this is important as different flowers bloom in different periods. The authors conclude, that learning depends on the flower patterns, not on the sex of the bumblebees. The role of male bees in pollination has to be reconsidered as by now they are not taken into account in pollinator assemblages.

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