February 26, 2024

New Study Challenges Popular 300-Year-Old Conjecture of Bilaterally Symmetrical Flowers

Thus, in today study, indoor experiments were conducted using 9 various artificial flowers with extensive mixes of flower symmetry (bilateral balance, dissymmetry, and radial proportion) and orientation (up, horizontal, and downward) to investigate the results of floral symmetry and orientation on the stability of flower entry by bumble bees, Bombus ignitus.
As expected, the results of this research study showed that the entry angle of bees was considerably stabilized when flowers existed horizontally, with a 60% decrease in angular variation compared to the downward and upward orientations. None of the three types of floral proportion were found to contribute to the stabilization of flower entry. This exceptional result triggers a reconsideration of the adaptive significance of bilaterally in proportion flowers that have actually progressed repeatedly in angiosperms.
Referral: “Effects of flower balance and orientation on the consistency of pollinator entry angle” by Nina Jirgal and Kazuharu Ohashi, 16 May 2023, The Science of Nature.DOI: 10.1007/ s00114-023-01845-w.
This work was supported by a JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research.

Contrary to popular belief that bilateral flower proportion increases pollination precision, a brand-new research study found that flower orientation, particularly horizontal discussion, significantly stabilizes bee entry angles, not symmetry. Observing this habits has led to the long-standing belief, considering that the 18th century, that the bilateral proportion of flowers evolved to ensure that the flowers endurances and pistils come into contact with specific parts of an animals body. None of the 3 types of floral symmetry were found to contribute to the stabilization of flower entry.

Contrary to common belief that bilateral flower proportion increases pollination precision, a brand-new research study found that flower orientation, especially horizontal discussion, significantly stabilizes bee entry angles, not balance. This discovery calls for a reevaluation of the adaptive significance of bilaterally balanced flowers in angiosperms. Credit: University of Tsukuba
In the natural world, its not uncommon to see flowers from unassociated species exhibit comparable physical qualities. One such attribute is bilateral symmetry, a feature seen in various kinds of flowers, consisting of those from the orchid and bean households.
When animals approach these bilaterally symmetrical flowers, they generally do so headfirst, with their undersides facing downward. Observing this behavior has led to the long-standing belief, given that the 18th century, that the bilateral proportion of flowers evolved to make sure that the flowers pistils and stamens come into contact with particular parts of an animals body.
This study noted that over 90% of bilaterally balanced flowers, such as orchids, are presented horizontally. Appropriately, animals naturally approach these flowers from the front with their ventral side down. This suggests that the observed stabilization of animal flower entry may not be associated to bilateral symmetry however to the accompanied horizontal orientation.