Dance dialects and foraging range in three Asian honey bee species
We measured the “distance dialects” in the dance languages of three honey bee species in Thailand (Apis florea, A. cerana, and A. dorsata), and used these dialects to examine the hypothesis that a colony's dialect is adaptively “tuned” to enhance efficiency of communication over the distances that its foragers typically fly. in contrast to previous interspecific comparisons in Sri Lanka (Lindauer 1956; Punchihewa et al. 1985), we found no striking dialect differences among the Asian bees in Thailand. The adaptive tuning hypothesis predicts that the foraging ranges of the three species should also be similar, but comparisons of colonial foraging range using the “forage mapping” technique (Visscher and Seeley 1982) actually revealed marked differences. This raises the possibility that the link between ecology and distance code is more subtle than previously supposed, if a link exists at all.