Prototypical movements for active sensing in bees
A problem for all navigation studies is to understand which of an animal’s movements are part of trying to get to a goal; which are part of an active sensing procedure; and, which are just noise. One tool that can reduce the dimensionality and volume of movement data that one has to analyse has recently been demonstrated by the Bielefeld group. A cluster analysis can be used to identify prototypical components of behaviour which can then be analysed with respect to task, visual scene or other factors, a process which should help with our original categorisation problem.
Previously, Dittmar et al had showed that bees can use motion information from statically camouflaged cylinders (i.e. the same texture as the back ground) in order to drive a search for a feeder. Here, Braun et al analyse the flight paths of bees from the Dittmar experiment to see how the prototypical comonents of the bees’ behaviour realtes to LM texture. The analysis shows that key (depth information generating) movement components, such as sideways and up-down flight, vary with distance from cylinders and with cylinder texture. This suggests that these particular movements are part of an active sensing scheme.
Braun E ,Dittmar L ,Boeddeker N ,Egelhaaf M (2012) Prototypical components of honeybee homing flight behaviour depend on the visual appearance of objects surrounding the goal. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (6)