Bees in Australia drove Flower evolution

Native flowers of Australia evolved into bright colourful flowers to attract bees and drive pollination. New research has taken place which proves that flying insects are crucial to the pollination of flowers all over the world.

Researchers and many people around the world already know that flower colours in the Northern Hemisphere were targeted to attract the bee’s vision and to attract them to the flower. A new study by Proceedings of the Royal Society B now shows that bees were also the main drivers of flower evolution in Australia.

It is amazing that the same process of flower evolution happened in Australia even though the continent has been geographically isolated for the past 34 million years; according to Adrian Dyer of the Monash University in Melbourne it suggests that bees are the most important pollinators for flowers.

Mr Dyer says, “We now know for sure that bees have been the major driver of flower colours around the world, more than birds or butterflies, and are a very important resource to protect”.

Before Australia even broke away from the other continents 34 million years ago, fossil evidence proves that flowering plant were simple, plain structures and were lacking in pigment. However the pressure to attract pollinators on the island has made flowers evolve into colourful and interestingly shaped flowers.

To find out whether it was birds, bees or butterflies who drove this evolution force, Dyer and his team conducted an experiment by randomly selecting 111 different samples of native Australian flowers. By using a spectrophotometer they could detect which pollinators could detect the flowers colours.

They found that the colours the flowers were giving off directly correlated to the bees ultraviolet blue and green receptors.