Home > Papers from 2012 > “Rational”, “Logical”, “Map-making” bees

“Rational”, “Logical”, “Map-making” bees

Najera et al. report on some interesting honeybee behaviour. Bees were trained to find food at a site 100m from the hive and then on some runs the feeder at that location was empty. On those trips, bees had to fly from the principal feeder to one of three secondary feeders, with one feeder full at a time (a feeder North Westerly in the morning; South Westerly over noon; South Easterly in the afternoon). The fact that bees are able to deal with this training regime shows that they are capable of flexible foraging strategies, however the authors choose to interpret this level of performance in terms of rational decision making and cognitive maps involving route hubs. This seems like a large interpretative leap to me. We already know that bees can learn multiple foraging routes that can be contextually primed by time of day (amongst other things) and I don’t see how we need to invoke anything more complex than route memories in order to explain the observed behaviour.

Najera DA, McCullough EL, Jander R. “Interpatch foraging in honeybees-rational decision making at secondary hubs based upon time and motivation” Anim Cogn 2012 Aug 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Categories: Papers from 2012
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