科学美国人:Bees Prefer Flowers That Proffer Nicotine

60秒科学节目(SSS)是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目,英文名称:Scientific American - 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主,节目仅一分钟的时间,主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍,对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术,提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。

We humans enjoy coffee and tea, to give our brains a caffeine boost. And bees sometimes sip nectar that naturally contains caffeine, which seems to enhance their memory. Now a study suggests that bees enjoy another familiar drug produced by plants: nicotine.

"As it turns out, not just in humans, but even the bees seem to have difficulties quitting." Lars Chittka, a professor of behavioral and sensory ecology at Queen Mary University of London. 

Chittka and his colleagues studied bumblebees as they visited fake flowers that contained varying levels of nicotine. Unnaturally high nicotine concentrations deterred the bees. But at real-world levels, the drug attracted bees. And they even learned a flower's color faster, if that flower offered a nicotine fix.

Sometimes bees paid a steep price for this preference. "They returned actually to flowers that had previously sold them nicotine, so to speak, even if these flowers no longer contained nectar." 

Which might give nicotine-pushing plants, like tobacco, an edge. "It provides these plant species with an unfair advantage over competing plants, because they can retain the faithful services of pollinators, even if they're offering suboptimal nectar in this case." 

The results are in the journal Scientific Reports. [D. Baracchi et al, Nicotine in floral nectar pharmacologically influences bumblebee learning of floral features]

And if caffeine and nicotine have these effects on bees? Perhaps natural floral pharmacies stock other drugs too—that enhance pollination, and give bees a buzz.

—Christopher Intagliata

相关信息

使用搜索工具,可以更快找到你想要的资料!

特别推荐
最新资料