Friday, May 13, 2005

The Waggle Dance Is Your Chance to Get Some Nectar

Brian

You've probably heard of the waggle dance--the mysterious little dance honey bees do in their hive right before other bees go out and find a great nectar source. Now, by using little radar transponders, English scientists have confirmed that the dance effectively communicates the location of the source to the other bees:

Most recruited bees undertook a flight path that took them straight to the vicinity of the feeding site - on average within five yards over a distance of 200 yards - where they then located its exact position by sight and smell.

"This can take them a long time, and it explains the anomaly in Frisch's experiments" said Prof Riley.

When bees caught just outside the hive were moved to a new location, 250 yards away, and released they flew to a correspondingly "wrong" destination, showing that they were following a prescribed set of directions - yet more support for von Frisch.


Link (via The Anomalist). The findings suggest that the waggle dance is slightly more entertaining than Dancing with the Stars.

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1 Comments:

Blogger The GraveDigger said...

I remember some other waggle dance studies from Human Behavioral Bio (thanks Sapolsky)

-they took a bee out to the middle of the lake and showed it a quite delectable flowering bush of some kind. He went back to the hive and did the waggle dance. The other bees did not go. Why? "There are no flowers in the middle of the lake, dumb ass. This guy is a loony."

-they took a bee to another really delectable flowering bush. They followed him back to the hive. While he was waggling, they rotated the hive 90 degrees. All the bees flew out of the hive to a location 90 degrees off from the actual bush (eg, 200 meters N instead of 200 meters W).

1:44 PM  

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