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May 3, 2011

How hummingbirds feed

Mesmerizing.

The video above is part of a paper by Alejandro Rico Guevara and Margaret A. Rubega entitled "The hummingbird tongue is a fluid trap, not a capillary tube," published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Video caption: "Using these first-ever high-speed high-defiinition videos of hummingbird feeding, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate student Alejandro Rico-Guevara discovered that the 180-year-old theory of how hummingbirds drink nectar is actually false."

Hbtonguetip_lg

Caption for the photo above: "A picture taken under a dissecting microscope to study the tongue-fluid interaction. The fringed tip opens as soon as it contacts the nectar, and closes when it is back in the air. The hummingbird is a Tyrian Metaltail (Metallura tyrianthina) from the Andes mountains of Colombia."

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Caption for the photo above: "Close-up views of a hummingbird's tongue. The tongue's two forks uncurl in nectar (top), but curl back up to trap the sugary fluid when leaving it (bottom).

More on this research here.

[via Dave Mosher and Wired]

May 3, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

Fascinating.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | May 3, 2011 10:45:51 PM

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