Home > Papers from 2010 > Optimisation of multi-location routes

Optimisation of multi-location routes

The term trapline refers to the fixed order with which hunters would visit their traps in order to check whether they had caught anything. Trapline foraging for bees involves visiting many flowers or flower patches to collect nectar. Previous descriptions of long distance trapline foraging in bees (e.g. Janzen, 1971) have suggested that individuals will remain faithful to a particular visitation order, even if that is a suboptimal in terms of distance.  In this study, Lihoreau et al show that bumblebees can, in fact, optimise the order with which they visit feeders to produce an economical route – in effect solving a version of the travelling salesman problem.  One potential extension of this study would be to gradually increase the scale of the experiment. This will allow an investigation of how local visual homing strategies might be involved in the production of optimally short routes.

Lihoreau M, Chittka L & Raine NE (2010) Travel optimization by foraging bumblebees through re-adjustments of traplines after discovery of new flower patches. American Naturalist

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Categories: Papers from 2010
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