Research press release




一部の花は、花弁に線条が入っており、これによって光が散乱して構造色が生じ、花粉媒介生物が感知できる信号が生じる。このナノスケールの線条は、秩序にある程度の乱れがあり、一輪の花の線条パターンは大きさと間隔が多様化している。今回、Beverley Gloverたちの研究グループは、いろいろな種類の被子植物について、こうした線条を分析し、このナノスケール構造のバリエーションにもかかわらず、全ての線条における秩序の乱れの程度が類似していることを明らかにした。このように秩序の乱れた構造に太陽光が当たると、基調的な色素色が何であっても、紫外光から青色光の光冠が生じる。


Bees and other pollinators can find flowers more easily due to a blue halo generated by nanoscale patterns on the petals, shows a study in Nature this week. This study shows that these signals are present in most groups of extant flowering plants, but that they may have evolved independently across lineages.

Some flowers possess striations on their petals that scatter light to produce structural colour, which generates signals that are visible pollinators. These nanoscale striations display a degree of disorder, that is, variation in the size and spacing within the patterns of a single flower. Beverley Glover and colleagues analysed these patterns in a range of flowering plants, and show that, despite this variation in the nanostructures, the patterns all display a similar degree of disorder. Regardless of the underlying pigment colour, these disordered structures all generate ultraviolet-to-blue haloes when hit by rays of sunlight.

Bees have been shown to be drawn to the colour blue, so to determine whether the blue halo is a visual signature that is attractive to bees, the authors made synthetic flowers with or without the nanoscale surface patterns seen in natural flowers. Behavioural experiments then demonstrated that bumblebees could find synthetic flowers that produced a blue halo more quickly than flowers that did not. The authors conclude that, although the varying nanostructures may have evolved independently, they all converge on producing the same striking visual signals that are striking to the pollinator's eye.

doi: 10.1038/nature24285

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