IMAGES: What the Bees See

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Science  11 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5715, pp. 1539
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5715.1539e

To our eyes, a narcissus flower looks uniformly yellow, but a camera that captures ultraviolet (UV) light reveals the flower's speckles, streaks, and splashes. Many flowers use these hidden patterns to signal bees and other pollinators, which can detect UV light. For a bee's-eye view of more than 100 plant varieties, check out this gallery from Bjørn Rørslett, a retired water scientist and photographer from Oslo, Norway. A geranium's “bull's-eye” pattern, for example, functions like the runway lights at an airport, guiding approaching insects to a touchdown at the flower's center, where nectar and pollen await.

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