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Fatty Acids as a Potential Foraging Cue in Bumblebee Pollen Detection
AuthorBreslow, Phillip R.
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Bee populations, both wild and commercially supplied, are on the decline. A diminishing availability of required nutritional components may be a major contributing factor. Understanding how bees are able to both detect and remember the locations of these dietary macromolecules will be a valuable contribution to sustainability efforts worldwide. To learn more about how bees detect and assess necessary pollen fats, I explored the potential of bees to form associations between these nutrients and visual stimuli. I found strong evidence that bees can detect pollen based fatty acids and that the presence of these compounds increases bee learning and perhaps memory. Additionally, I found evidence suggesting that fatty acid consumption may increase bee longevity. My research suggests that pollen fats are a chemical attractant potentially important to pollinator species.