Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Cost Of Long Tongues

Date:
April 18, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Orchid bees use their extraordinarily long tongues to drink nectar from the deep, tropical flowers only they can access. Exclusive access comes at a cost. It's just plain hard to suck thick, viscous nectars up through a long straw. Orchid bees are sacrificing speed at flowers for exclusive access to them.

Orchid bee Eulaema
Credit: G. Dimijian

Orchid bees use their extraordinarily long tongues to drink nectar from the deep, tropical flowers only they can access. Researchers have long suspected that this kind of exclusive access came with a mechanical cost. According to common sense and a classic law of fluid mechanics, it's just plain hard to suck thick, viscous nectars up through a long straw.

Related Articles


Now, Brendan Borrell at the University of California, Berkeley has confirmed this prediction for the first time: orchid bees with long tongues suck up their nectars more slowly than bees with shorter tongues.

Borrell spent three years collecting bees in forests all over Costa Rica and Panama and measuring their feeding rates at artificial flowers. He found that the smallest bees sometimes had the longest tongues and the largest bees sometimes had the shortest tongues. But after taking into account all that variation in body size, he says long tongues really do impose a mechanical cost on bees.

Everyone knows just how busy bees can be, but orchid bees are basically sacrificing speed at flowers for exclusive access to them. Borrell thinks this may be because the rewards at these flowers can be tremendous, up to ten times the quanity of nectar provided by typical bee flowers.

Brendan J. Borrell, "Scaling of nectar foraging in orchid bees" American Naturalist, 2007, 169: 569--580. DOI: 10.1086/512689


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Cost Of Long Tongues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070416160729.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, April 18). The Cost Of Long Tongues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070416160729.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Cost Of Long Tongues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070416160729.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Thai wildlife officials begin a headcount of nearly 150 tigers kept by monks at a temple which has become the centre of a dispute over the welfare of the animals. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

AP (Apr. 24, 2015) Theres never been a shortage of beer on college campuses. But students at Cal Poly-Pomona are learning how to brew, serving their product to classmates, and hoping to land jobs in craft breweries when they graduate. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Cambodia&apos;s Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. As well as educating tourists about the creatures, it also offers a source of income to nearby villagers, who are paid to breed local species. Duration: 02:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins