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Flower color phenology in European grassland and woodland habitats, through the eyes of pollinators

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Some studies have claimed that flowers in bloom at particular times of year are more likely to be of particular colors to better attract pollinating insects. To test this, we analyzed a data set collected from five field sites near Strausberg, Germany, which included information on flower color and months of blooming. However, we chose to consider flower color as perceived by bee as well as human visual systems, as well as independent of any color vision system, to reveal whether trends, if present, have any ecological relevance. Using randomization analyses, we were able to consider whether blooming time interacts with flower color, and how this interaction depends upon other factors. Our results show that there is an association between the months of flowering and the colors of flowers—but only when flowers are considered according to human color categories. Further analysis showed that this is merely a consequence of flowers from the same family being more likely to flower at the same time and have similar colors. All these effects disappeared when flowers were considered using bee color categories, and in the analyses of physical spectral reflectances.

Affiliations: 1: Queen Mary University of London, Research Centre for Psychology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences ; 2: Queen Mary University of London, Research Centre for Psychology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences l.chittka@qmul.ac.uk

10.1560/IJPS.57.3.211
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/content/journals/10.1560/ijps.57.3.211
2009-05-18
2018-06-20

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