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Bumblebees have smelly feet, scientists revealed on Tuesday. Moreover, the odour in their tiny footprints is so potent that other bees could detect it hours after they had visited a flower, a team wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. Adding to the intrigue, experiments showed that bumblebees can distinguish the smell of their own feet from those of other bees. “This is the first time it has been shown that bumblebees can tell the difference between their scent and the scent of their family members” or unrelated peers, said study co-author Richard Pearce of the University of Bristol. This means the insects can detect who had recently visited a flower — they themselves, or a different bee.

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