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This Weird, Head-Banging Bee Thumps Its Head to Collect Pollen (VIDEO)

First Posted: Dec 17, 2015 10:53 AM EST

A headbanging bee takes a unique approach to pollination. A certain insect from Australia actually uses high-speed headbanging in order to gather pollen.

This latest study actually sought to understand the pollination techniques of Australian native blue banded bees with North American bumblebees, which are commonly used overseas to commercially pollinate tomato plants.

American bees grabbed the anther of the tomato plant flower with their mandibles before tensing their wing muscles to shake the pollen out. In contrast, the Australian bee prefers a more "hands free" approach. It actually settles on the flower and then bangs its head in order to vibrate the flower and collect pollen.

In addition, the researchers found that the Australian bee actually vibrates the flower at a higher frequency than overseas bees and spends less time per flower.

"We were absolutely surprised," said Katja Hogendoorn, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We were so buried in the science of it, we never thought about something like this. This is something totally new. Our earlier research has shown that blue-banded bees are effective pollinators of greenhouse tomatoes. This new finding suggests that blue-banded bees could also be very efficient pollinators, needing fewer bees per hectare."

The findings reveal a bit more about these bees and show just how unique their approach is when it comes to collecting pollen.

The findings are published in the journal Arthropod-Plant Interactions.

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