New York: Believe it! Bumblebees are capable of flying at much higher elevations - higher than even Mount Everest!
Researchers at University of California, Berkeley travelled to a mountain range in western China and collected six male alpine bumblebees of the species Bombus impetuosus.
The researchers placed the bees in clear, sealed boxes and experimentally adjusted the oxygen levels and air density in a simulated elevation while keeping temperature constant, said a press release from University of California.
All of the bees were capable of flying in conditions equivalent to 13,000 feet and some even made it past 30,000 feet - the height of the peak of Mount Everest.
The researchers found that the bees increased the angle at which they extended their wings with each beat, reaching closer to their heads and abdomens each time.
This action increased the amount of air that they swooped, helping to boost their bodies up, researchers said in a report published in the journal Biology Letters.
They are currently studying whether bees living at lower base elevations are also capable of flying at simulated high elevations.