Home > Papers from 2014 > Do walking bees navigate like ants?

Do walking bees navigate like ants?

One thing that many research groups are working towards is the idea of recording from insect brains as they undertake navigation. One approach is to use VR whilst animals move on a trackball, another is to have walking animals in a small arena. Jin et al. are working towards the latter idea by developing a visual navigation assay for walking bumblebees. In this experiment bees learn to find sucrose on a coloured patch on the floor, within a room that has visual cues on the wall. In tests, bees are tracked as they search for the now absent food. If the coloured patch is present then bees show a strong bias for searching at that location. However if the coloured patch is absent there is only a tiny bias for the quadrant of the arena defined by the “panoramic” visual cues. Thus, for me, the title of the paper is a little hasty in suggesting that bumblebees memorize the panorama. Perhaps a more salient panorama (using back-lit contrast rather than simple shapes) would evoke a stronger effect.

Jin, N., Landgraf, T., Klein, S., & Menzel, R. (2014). Walking bumblebees memorize panorama and local cues in a laboratory test of navigation. Animal Behaviour97, 13-23.
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Categories: Papers from 2014
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