Friday, 27 June 2014

Odours can keep insects from finding flowers

By Zoe GoughReporter, BBC Nature

Insects find locating their favourite flowers more difficult when pollution and other odours get in the way, new research has shown.

Tobacco hornworm moths feed on the nectar of plants which can grow hundreds of metres apart.

Researchers found the moths tracked the flower's scent better in clean air, when other smells were not present.

They discovered the other odours changed how the moth's brain processed the plant's scent.

The findings are reported in the journal Science.

Adult tobacco hornworm moths, Manduca sexta, have wingspans of 4in (10cm) and can travel up to 80 miles (129km) in an evening, looking for food and mates.

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