× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×
VAS

Fruit colours evolved to please picky birds

ENVIRONMENT
By AFP | July 19th 2014

Tropical Asian birds have a penchant for red and black -- a proclivity that likely prompted jungle plants to sprout fruit in these colours, scientists said on Thursday.

It has long been suspected that an abundance of red and black fleshy fruits in nature was partly inspired by a pigment preference of the keen-eyed birds that eat them and spread the seeds.

A team in China decided to test the theory by determining once and for all whether birds do have colour favourites.

To eliminate possibly confounding influences of smell, shape or taste, the team manufactured artificial fruits from a mixture of apple, pear, banana, wheat and corn flour rolled into small balls and dyed black, red, yellow, green or blue using tasteless food colouring.

They then put the fruit balls in front of different species of bulbul and barbet birds native to tropical Xishuangbanna in southwest China.

The birds, both wild-caught and hand-reared, were left to choose for themselves what they wanted to eat.

All favoured red fruit, followed by black, the scientists found, and all avoided green ones, whose seeds in nature are generally dispersed by insects and other non-avian animals.

The results were similar in experiments with real fruit.

"The preferences were constant over time, supporting the hypothesis that bird colour preferences are a contributing factor driving fruit colour evolution in tropical Asia," the team wrote in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

-AFP


 

Share this story
'Victims found in wreckage died days before plane took off' rebel commander says
A pro-Russian rebel commander has reportedly claimed that victims found in the wreckage of Flight MH17 had actually died days before the aircraft took off.
Diabetes: Insulin now an essential drug
Listing NCDs is a relief to Kenyans like 65-year-old Kahuho Mathai from Nyeri County, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

.
RECOMMENDED NEWS

;