Friday, December 3, 2010

Bee Knowledgeable Answers: Honeybee Adaptation

There are many varieties of adaptation in the animal kingdom. An adaptation is an evolutionary process by which a species develops traits that help better survive and fit the habitat or environment.
photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

The distinctive coloration of honeybees is an adaptation. The yellow and black stripes on a bees body helps make bees harder for predators to see. It is a camouflage when they are gathering nectar and pollen from flowers.

Bee stingers are also an adaptation. It is actually an organ in their body called an ovipositor. The ovipositor is used by insects to lay their eggs precisely where they want them. Honeybees adapted this organ to be sharp enough to penetrate an attacker’s flesh and venom sacs were developed to make the sting very powerful. This is another defensive adaptation.

The hair on a honeybee’s body is another adaptation. As a bee flies, the incredibly fast beating of their wings generates static electricity. The static builds up in their fur. When a bee lands on a flower to drink nectar, the flower’s fine, dust-like pollen cling’s to the bee’s fur due to the static charge. The bee can then use their feet to “comb” themselves, gathering the pollen and storing it on the pollen baskets on their back legs.
photo: Jon Sullivan

Did you come up with other honeybee adaptations? What were they?

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