Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 67–72 | Cite as

Acoustical signals in the dance language of the giant honeybee, Apis dorsata

  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
  • Claudia Dreller


Acoustical signals emitted by dancing bees have recently been shown to transmit information about the location of food sources in the western honeybee, Apis mellifera. Towne (1985) reported that in the Asian honeybee species Apis dorsata, which builds a single comb in the open under overhanging rocks or tree branches, sound signals were not emitted by the dancers. This led to the conclusion that acoustical communication is restricted to bees that nest in the dark, like A. mellifera. Here we show that in fact A. dorsata produces dance sounds similar to those emitted by A. mellifera, and that these acoustical signals contain information about distance, direction and profitability of food sources. The acoustical transfer of information has thus evolved independently of nesting in dark cavities. The significance of nocturnal activity in Apis dorsata for the evolution of sound communication is discussed.

Key words

Communication Sound Asian honey bees Apsis dorsata 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang H. Kirchner
    • 1
  • Claudia Dreller
    • 1
  1. 1.Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften der UniversitätLehrstuhl für Verhaltensphysiologie und SoziobiologieWürzburgGermany

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