Research Reveals Honeybees Use Dance As A Means of Communication


Research Reveals Honeybees Use Dance for Communication

A recent study conducted at a university has uncovered that honeybees have the ability to interpret dances performed by their fellow hive mates, which serve as directions to food sources. The research sheds light on how each bee relies on its antennae to decode the information conveyed through these dances, even in the darkness of the hive.

For decades, scientists have been aware of honeybees performing waggle dances to indicate the direction and distance to food outside the hive. However, the method by which bees surrounding the dancing bee comprehend this information has remained a mystery until now.

By delving deeper into bee communication, researchers hope to gain insights into how factors like habitat destruction and pesticide use impact bees' foraging abilities. A team from the University of Edinburgh made this breakthrough by studying honeybees at an apiary on campus and employing computational models to simulate their cognitive processes.

Using slow-motion filming and high-resolution imaging under infrared light, researchers were able to closely monitor the movements of bees' antennae during waggle dances, which are typically too fast for the human eye to perceive clearly.

The study revealed that bees adjust the position of their antennae in response to the dancer's movements, enabling them to decipher dances from various angles by combining signals from their antennae with their sense of gravity. This intricate process involves the integration of sensory information by fewer than one hundred neurons in the bee's brain to determine the angle and distance to the food source indicated in the dance.

The findings of this research have been published in the journal Current Biology and were supported by various funding sources. PhD student Anna Hadjitofi expressed excitement over the discovery of the bees' efficient neural mechanism for processing complex information with minimal resources. Professor Barbara Webb highlighted the potential of understanding insect brain functions in developing more compact and energy-efficient computing systems.

Source: theedinburghreporter

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4 weeks ago

So they have this body language to indicate the direction and distance of the food.

4 weeks ago

By and by, we are learning a lot about these beautiful pollinators.

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