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The scent of the waggle dance.

Thom C, Gilley DC, Hooper J, Esch HE - PLoS Biol. (2007)

Bottom Line: Nondancing foragers returning from the same food source produce these substances in only minute quantities.The results of this study suggest that these compounds are semiochemicals involved in worker recruitment.By showing that honey bee waggle dancers produce and release behaviorally active chemicals, this study reveals a new dimension in the organization of honey bee foraging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Arizona Research Laboratories, Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The waggle dance of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) foragers communicates to nest mates the location of a profitable food source. We used solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to show that waggle-dancing bees produce and release two alkanes, tricosane and pentacosane, and two alkenes, Z-(9)-tricosene and Z-(9)-pentacosene, onto their abdomens and into the air. Nondancing foragers returning from the same food source produce these substances in only minute quantities. Injection of the scent significantly affects worker behavior by increasing the number of bees that exit the hive. The results of this study suggest that these compounds are semiochemicals involved in worker recruitment. By showing that honey bee waggle dancers produce and release behaviorally active chemicals, this study reveals a new dimension in the organization of honey bee foraging.

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Comparison of Vigorous and Less-Vigorous DancersThe relative abundance for Z-(9)-tricosene, tricosane, Z-(9)-pentacosene, and pentacosane tended to be higher for vigorous (n = 5, black bars) than less-vigorous (n = 13, white bars) dancers. Vigor of dancing was assessed subjectively by one experimenter and included appearance of abdomen movement and the rate of waggle runs. More vigorous dancers appeared to move their abdomen farther to the side and perform more waggle runs than less-vigorous dancers. Error bars represent the standard error. Statistical tests are given in the text.
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pbio-0050228-g003: Comparison of Vigorous and Less-Vigorous DancersThe relative abundance for Z-(9)-tricosene, tricosane, Z-(9)-pentacosene, and pentacosane tended to be higher for vigorous (n = 5, black bars) than less-vigorous (n = 13, white bars) dancers. Vigor of dancing was assessed subjectively by one experimenter and included appearance of abdomen movement and the rate of waggle runs. More vigorous dancers appeared to move their abdomen farther to the side and perform more waggle runs than less-vigorous dancers. Error bars represent the standard error. Statistical tests are given in the text.

Mentions: All four compounds were present in significantly higher amounts on the abdomens of waggle dancers than in either (a) nondancing foragers that returned from the same unscented nectar source, or (b) nonforaging bees [Figure 2, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each compound, degrees of freedom (df) = 2, 49, p < 0.001 for all compounds; Tukey HSD for unequal n, p < 0.0005 for all compounds, experiment-wise α = 0.05]. Intriguingly, although only marginally significant, waggle dancers that danced more vigorously (i.e., appeared to perform waggle runs at higher rates and with more exaggerated movement of the abdomen as assessed subjectively by one person, n = 5 bees) tended to emit more of all four compounds than less vigorous dancers did (n = 13) (Figure 3, Mann-Whitney U test, p = 0.05, 0.07, 0.13, and 0.08 for peaks 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Nondancing foragers and nonforaging bees did not emit different amounts of these compounds (Tukey HSD for unequal n, p = 0.076, 0.074, and 0.400, for peaks 2, 3, and 4, respectively) with the exception of Z-(9)-tricosene (p < 0.001).


The scent of the waggle dance.

Thom C, Gilley DC, Hooper J, Esch HE - PLoS Biol. (2007)

Comparison of Vigorous and Less-Vigorous DancersThe relative abundance for Z-(9)-tricosene, tricosane, Z-(9)-pentacosene, and pentacosane tended to be higher for vigorous (n = 5, black bars) than less-vigorous (n = 13, white bars) dancers. Vigor of dancing was assessed subjectively by one experimenter and included appearance of abdomen movement and the rate of waggle runs. More vigorous dancers appeared to move their abdomen farther to the side and perform more waggle runs than less-vigorous dancers. Error bars represent the standard error. Statistical tests are given in the text.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1994260&req=5

pbio-0050228-g003: Comparison of Vigorous and Less-Vigorous DancersThe relative abundance for Z-(9)-tricosene, tricosane, Z-(9)-pentacosene, and pentacosane tended to be higher for vigorous (n = 5, black bars) than less-vigorous (n = 13, white bars) dancers. Vigor of dancing was assessed subjectively by one experimenter and included appearance of abdomen movement and the rate of waggle runs. More vigorous dancers appeared to move their abdomen farther to the side and perform more waggle runs than less-vigorous dancers. Error bars represent the standard error. Statistical tests are given in the text.
Mentions: All four compounds were present in significantly higher amounts on the abdomens of waggle dancers than in either (a) nondancing foragers that returned from the same unscented nectar source, or (b) nonforaging bees [Figure 2, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each compound, degrees of freedom (df) = 2, 49, p < 0.001 for all compounds; Tukey HSD for unequal n, p < 0.0005 for all compounds, experiment-wise α = 0.05]. Intriguingly, although only marginally significant, waggle dancers that danced more vigorously (i.e., appeared to perform waggle runs at higher rates and with more exaggerated movement of the abdomen as assessed subjectively by one person, n = 5 bees) tended to emit more of all four compounds than less vigorous dancers did (n = 13) (Figure 3, Mann-Whitney U test, p = 0.05, 0.07, 0.13, and 0.08 for peaks 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Nondancing foragers and nonforaging bees did not emit different amounts of these compounds (Tukey HSD for unequal n, p = 0.076, 0.074, and 0.400, for peaks 2, 3, and 4, respectively) with the exception of Z-(9)-tricosene (p < 0.001).

Bottom Line: Nondancing foragers returning from the same food source produce these substances in only minute quantities.The results of this study suggest that these compounds are semiochemicals involved in worker recruitment.By showing that honey bee waggle dancers produce and release behaviorally active chemicals, this study reveals a new dimension in the organization of honey bee foraging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Arizona Research Laboratories, Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The waggle dance of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) foragers communicates to nest mates the location of a profitable food source. We used solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to show that waggle-dancing bees produce and release two alkanes, tricosane and pentacosane, and two alkenes, Z-(9)-tricosene and Z-(9)-pentacosene, onto their abdomens and into the air. Nondancing foragers returning from the same food source produce these substances in only minute quantities. Injection of the scent significantly affects worker behavior by increasing the number of bees that exit the hive. The results of this study suggest that these compounds are semiochemicals involved in worker recruitment. By showing that honey bee waggle dancers produce and release behaviorally active chemicals, this study reveals a new dimension in the organization of honey bee foraging.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus