Increasingly real life is like science fiction and in this case a new discovery sounds like it's straight out of the pages of an eco-sci-fi potboiler. According to new research conducted by scientists at the University of Bristol in the U.K., bumblebees are able to read the electrical patterns given off by flowers.
We've long believed that pollinating bumblebees are attracted to flowers based on fragrance, visual patterns and colors. These new findings reveal that flowers display electrical patterns that act as very distinct sign posts to bees, indicating that flower's status in terms of its pollen and nectar production. Professor Daniel Robert, one of the researchers involved in the study, told National Geographic that the "co-evolution between flowers and bees has a long and beneficial history, so perhaps it's not entirely surprising that we are still discovering today how remarkably sophisticated their communication is."
The researchers still haven't determined exactly how these insects are able to detect the electrical patterns of flowers, but the very discovery of such a subtle communications vector after so many years of insect study indicates that there's still a lot to learn about our tiny multi-legged friends.