Home > Papers from 2012 > One dance or two?

One dance or two?

Here is the abstract for a new paper about the waggle dance. Griffen et al have investigated whether there is directional information in the round dance of honeybees, which is used when recruiting to nearby food sources. Previously this had been thought to be lacking in directional information and therefore a distinct dance from the waggle dance. These results actually suggest that the round dance is a form of waggle dance.

Abstract ” Throughout his writings about how honeybees communicate with dances, Karl von Frisch described two types of recruitment dance: the round dance, which supposedly indicates the presence of a food source somewhere near the hive, and the waggle dance, which indicates the distance and direction of a food source more than 100 m from the hive. The view that round dances and waggle dances are distinct recruitment signals has been revised in light of the finding that distance and direction information are encoded (albeit imprecisely) in round dances. It has remained unclear, however, whether dance followers can use the location information in round dances. In the present study, we looked at recruitment to nearby food sources and found that dance followers can use the directional information in the dances advertising these food sources. Directional bias in recruitment was found for food sources as close as 5 m from the hive. Controls for effects of assembly pheromone and bee presence at the advertised food sources indicate that these factors play a minimal role, relative to dance information, in producing the directional recruitment. Our results provide further support for the view that round dances are best viewed as waggle dances indicating nearby food sources, not as a separate type of dance.”

Sean R. Griffin, Michael L. Smith, Thomas D. Seeley, Do honeybees use the directional information in round dances to find nearby food sources?, Animal Behaviour, Volume 83, Issue 6, June 2012, Pages 1319-1324, ISSN 0003-3472, 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.03.003.

Categories: Papers from 2012
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