Document Detail

Increase in dance imprecision with decreasing foraging distance in the honey bee Apis mellifera L. is partly explained by physical constraints.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16049698     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Honey bee foragers communicate the direction and distance of both food sources and new nest sites to nest mates by means of a symbolic dance language. Interestingly, the precision by which dancers transfer directional information is negatively correlated with the distance to the advertised food source. The 'tuned-error' hypothesis suggests that colonies benefit from this imprecision as it spreads recruits out over a patch of constant size irrespective of the distance to the advertised site. An alternative to the tuned-error hypothesis is that dancers are physically incapable of dancing with great precision for nearby sources. Here we revisit the tuned-error hypothesis by studying the change in dance precision with increasing foraging distance over relatively short distances while controlling for environmental influences. We show that bees indeed increase their dance precision with the increase in foraging distance. However, we also show that dance performed by swarm-scouts for a nearby (30 m) nest site, where there could be no benefit to imprecision, are either without or with only limited directional information. This result suggests that imprecision in dance communication is caused primarily by physical constraints in the ability of dancers to turn around quickly enough when the advertised site is nearby.
Madeleine Beekman; Laurent Doyen; Benjamin P Oldroyd
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2005-07-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology     Volume:  191     ISSN:  0340-7594     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Comp. Physiol. A Neuroethol. Sens. Neural. Behav. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2005 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-11-25     Completed Date:  2006-01-20     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101141792     Medline TA:  J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1107-13     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, A12, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Communication*
Bees / physiology*
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Feeding Behavior / physiology*
Flight, Animal / physiology*

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