The importance of pollen chemistry in evolutionary host shifts of bees

Some bees are generalist pollinators that gather pollen from a wide range of species, whereas others are specialists that visit only one or a few species. Vanderplanck et al. examined floral traits of the host plants of two different groups of generalist bees. There was no significant correlation between bees and the floral scent, floral reflectance, and total amino acid composition in pollen of the flowers they visit. By contrast, pollen sterol content and polypeptide content does correlate with bee preferences. This study provides insights into the evolutionary forces that affect host-shifts in bees. Sci. Reports 10.1038/srep43058