Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bees and Flowers

I don't know how many of you knew about this, so I figured i'd show you something cool. Humans have decent eyesight (well most of us do), but our vision encompasses just a tiny slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. We can't see ultraviolet or X rays, and we can't see infrared, microwaves, or radiowaves. When we look at a yellow flower, all we see is yellow. Bees can see into the ultraviolet spectrum, and many species of flowering plants have flowers with patterns only visible in UV. The leading theory is that these patterns serve to help guide bees to them.

The visible spectrum (left) and the false-color UV (right). Obviously the UV part isn't actually "red": we don't have a word for whatever color it really is because our brains can't make sense of it. 


  1. Cool. The variation that can occur with human vision is pretty cool too even though it is considered a disability. Some people see different shades or hues depending on genetic defects that causes the number and locations of rods and codes to change. Kind of neat really when you think of it, you never know it may come in handy for some reason.

    Also the title of the post made me think of "The birds and the bees" then i saw teh word X-ray so i thought it was going to be about cyborg/robot sex.

  2. I've always found colours that we don't perceive to be so damn interesting. Curse our human limitations ;_;