Document Detail

Variability in the encoding of spatial information by dancing bees.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18456891     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A honeybee's waggle dance is an intriguing example of multisensory convergence, central processing and symbolic information transfer. It conveys to bees and human observers the position of a relatively small area at the endpoint of an average vector in a two-dimensional system of coordinates. This vector is often computed from a collection of waggle phases from the same or different dancers. The question remains, however, of how informative a small sample of waggle phases can be to the bees, and how the spatial information encoded in the dance is actually mapped to the followers' searches in the field. Certainly, it is the variability of a dancer's performance that initially defines the level of uncertainty that followers must cope with if they were to successfully decode information in the dance. Understanding how a dancer's behaviour is mapped to that of its followers initially relies on the analysis of both the accuracy and precision with which the dancer encodes spatial information in the dance. Here we describe within-individual variations in the encoding of the distance to and direction of a goal. We show that variations in the number of a dancer's wagging movements, a measure that correlates well with the distance to the goal, do not depend upon the dancer's travelled distance, meaning that there is a constant variance of wagging movements around the mean. We also show that the duration of the waggle phases and the angular dispersion and divergence of successive waggle phases co-vary with a dancer's orientation in space. Finally, using data from dances recorded through high-speed video techniques, we present the first analysis of the accuracy and precision with which an increasing number of waggle phases conveys spatial information to a human observer.
Rodrigo J De Marco; Juan M Gurevitz; Randolf Menzel
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  211     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2008 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-05     Completed Date:  2008-09-03     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1635-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Biologie/Chemie/Pharmazie, Institut für Biologie-Neurobiologie, Königin-Luise-Strasse 28-30, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Communication*
Bees / physiology*
Flight, Animal*
Orientation / physiology*
Video Recording

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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