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The disorder of polymeric flower nanostructures enhances the signal transmission to bees

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Different forms of nanostructures produce structural colors and perform signal functions within and between species. The structure color is caused by the interference of light of approximately regular periodic structure; However, some structural disorders are inevitable in biological organisms. Is this disorder functional and influenced by evolutionary selection, or is it just an inevitable result of biological development? Here, we show that disordered nanostructures enable flowers to produce obvious visual signals from bees. These disordered nanostructures (identified in the main lineages of most angiosperms) have unique anatomical structures, but have convergent properties; They all produce angle dependent scattered light, mainly short wave (ultrashort wave)iolet and blue). We manufactured artificial flowers with nanoscale structures that possessed tailored levels of disorder in order to investigate how foraging bumblebees respond to this optical effect. We conclude that floral nanostructures have evolved, on multiple independent occasions, an effective degree of relative spatial disorder that generates a photonic signature that is highly salient to insect pollinators.

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