Adaptations

A bee's body is modified for specific activities. Anatomical and physiological modifications are superimposed upon and integrated into her generalized body plan. For example, the feeding organs of bees contain similar parts as those of other insects, such as crickets, but a bee's mouthparts differ in shape and function in that they form a proboscis for ingesting nectar and pollen. The gut or alimentary canal of a honeybee is specialized for holding honey. Her respiratory system is enlarged accommodating rapid flight. Bee wings enable swift flight, but they can also sustain heavy, rapidly changing loads of nectar, honey and pollen. A bee uses her legs not only for walking. Her legs are shaped for holding on, feeding brood and young bees, for cleaning herself, and are adapted for performing other jobs around the hive, such as carrying pollen. The sting of a worker bee discharges formic acid and not eggs. Abdominal glands produce wax for the building of honeycombs.

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