Skip to content

Floral temperature patterns can function as floral guides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalArthropod-Plant Interactions
Early online date13 Jan 2020
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Jan 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 13 Jan 2020


Floral guides are signal patterns that lead pollinators to floral rewards after they have located the flower, and increase foraging efficiency and pollen transfer. Patterns of several floral signalling modalities, particularly colour patterns, have been identified as being able to function as floral guides. Floral temperature frequently shows patterns that can be used by bumblebees for locating and recognising the flower, but whether these temperature patterns can function as a floral guide has not been explored. Furthermore, how combined patterns (using multiple signalling modalities) affect floral guide function has only been investigated in a few modality combinations. We assessed how artificial flowers induce behaviours in bumblebees when rewards are indicated by unimodal temperature patterns, unimodal colour patterns or multimodal combinations of these. Bees visiting flowers with unimodal temperature patterns showed an increased probability of finding rewards and increased learning of reward location, compared to bees visiting flowers without patterns. However, flowers with contrasting unimodal colour patterns showed further guide-related behavioural changes in addition to these, such as reduced reward search times and attraction to the rewarding feeder without learning. This shows that temperature patterns alone can function as a floral guide, but with reduced efficiency. When temperature patterns were added to colour patterns, bees showed similar improvements in learning reward location and reducing their number of failed visits in addition to the responses seen to colour patterns. This demonstrates that temperature pattern guides can have beneficial effects on flower handling both when alone or alongside colour patterns.

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer Nature at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 1.75 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups