Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 30, Issue 3–4, pp 143–150 | Cite as

How honeybees perceive communication dances, studied by means of a mechanical model

  • Axel Michelsen
  • Bent Bach Andersen
  • Jesper Storm
  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
  • Martin Lindauer
Article

Summary

A mechanical model of a dancing honeybee was used to investigate the role of various components of the wagging dance in the transfer of information to follower bees. The model simulates the dance, carries a scent, and has an acoustic near-field similar to that of live dancers. The movements of the model are controlled by a computer, and selected components of the dance can be manipulated independently of others. The number of bees approaching scented baits at various distances and directions from the hive was observed, both during simulated “normal” dances and dances in which different components provided potentially conflicting information about the location of the food. The results indicate that the wagging run is the “master component” of the dance. The figure-of-eight dance path does not seem to convey information. Both sound and wagging must be present in the dance, but no specific roles were found for these components. Both sound and wagging convey information about distance and direction, and they appear to be largely redundant.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Michelsen
    • 1
  • Bent Bach Andersen
    • 1
  • Jesper Storm
    • 1
  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
    • 2
  • Martin Lindauer
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyOdense UniversityOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Zoologie IIWürzburg UniversityWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany

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