I spent some time last night trying to capture some macro shots of Holly in amongst the moss to demonstrate how good her camouflage is. When I looked at her this morning I'm sure her stripy bands were more dull! BCW agreed and had observed the same thing independently.
This is not the first time we have felt the vibrancy of her markings has changed - previously we had been attributing it to a poor state of health and possibly low nutrition. However, the fact it appears to have changed overnight while she is, basically, in a well-fed state sheds a new light on things and generates a whole series of thoughts:
- Do the bands naturally vary in colour over time?
- Is there a periodicity to this (e.g. daily)
- Is it driven by other factors, such as levels of light, state of nutrition/health etc.?
As far as I'm concerned, these are intriguing questions; and given there seems to be little research done about the camouflage aspects of bee bandings, I suspect they are unanswered. I may be able to devise some experiments and measures to try and answer some of these questions.
We have started a page to start to explore the area of bee markings and camouflage.