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Large scale homing in honeybees.

Pahl M, Zhu H, Tautz J, Zhang S - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Honeybee foragers frequently fly several kilometres to and from vital resources, and communicate those locations to their nest mates by a symbolic dance language.We found that homing rate, homing speed and the maximum homing distance depend on the release direction.Our findings suggest that such large scale homing is facilitated by global landmarks acting as beacons, and possibly the entire skyline panorama.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: BEEgroup, Biocentre, Würzburg University, Würzburg, Germany. mario.pahl@uni-wuerzburg.de

ABSTRACT
Honeybee foragers frequently fly several kilometres to and from vital resources, and communicate those locations to their nest mates by a symbolic dance language. Research has shown that they achieve this feat by memorizing landmarks and the skyline panorama, using the sun and polarized skylight as compasses and by integrating their outbound flight paths. In order to investigate the capacity of the honeybees' homing abilities, we artificially displaced foragers to novel release spots at various distances up to 13 km in the four cardinal directions. Returning bees were individually registered by a radio frequency identification (RFID) system at the hive entrance. We found that homing rate, homing speed and the maximum homing distance depend on the release direction. Bees released in the east were more likely to find their way back home, and returned faster than bees released in any other direction, due to the familiarity of global landmarks seen from the hive. Our findings suggest that such large scale homing is facilitated by global landmarks acting as beacons, and possibly the entire skyline panorama.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Homing speed.Bees homing from the eastern direction return to the hive sooner than bees from the west, north and south. *** Denotes p<0.001; n.s. = not significant. Error bars show SEM.
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pone-0019669-g005: Homing speed.Bees homing from the eastern direction return to the hive sooner than bees from the west, north and south. *** Denotes p<0.001; n.s. = not significant. Error bars show SEM.

Mentions: The average homing speed of bees returning from the west, north and south was around 25 m·min−1, about 10 m·min−1 slower than the homing speed from the east (Fig. 5). The speeds from the west, north and south did not differ from each other (ANOVA, p = 0.697). Consequently, they were pooled and compared to the homing speed from the east, which was significantly higher than the speeds of bees returning from the west, north and south (t = 14.379, df = 317, p<0.001).


Large scale homing in honeybees.

Pahl M, Zhu H, Tautz J, Zhang S - PLoS ONE (2011)

Homing speed.Bees homing from the eastern direction return to the hive sooner than bees from the west, north and south. *** Denotes p<0.001; n.s. = not significant. Error bars show SEM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3094336&req=5

pone-0019669-g005: Homing speed.Bees homing from the eastern direction return to the hive sooner than bees from the west, north and south. *** Denotes p<0.001; n.s. = not significant. Error bars show SEM.
Mentions: The average homing speed of bees returning from the west, north and south was around 25 m·min−1, about 10 m·min−1 slower than the homing speed from the east (Fig. 5). The speeds from the west, north and south did not differ from each other (ANOVA, p = 0.697). Consequently, they were pooled and compared to the homing speed from the east, which was significantly higher than the speeds of bees returning from the west, north and south (t = 14.379, df = 317, p<0.001).

Bottom Line: Honeybee foragers frequently fly several kilometres to and from vital resources, and communicate those locations to their nest mates by a symbolic dance language.We found that homing rate, homing speed and the maximum homing distance depend on the release direction.Our findings suggest that such large scale homing is facilitated by global landmarks acting as beacons, and possibly the entire skyline panorama.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: BEEgroup, Biocentre, Würzburg University, Würzburg, Germany. mario.pahl@uni-wuerzburg.de

ABSTRACT
Honeybee foragers frequently fly several kilometres to and from vital resources, and communicate those locations to their nest mates by a symbolic dance language. Research has shown that they achieve this feat by memorizing landmarks and the skyline panorama, using the sun and polarized skylight as compasses and by integrating their outbound flight paths. In order to investigate the capacity of the honeybees' homing abilities, we artificially displaced foragers to novel release spots at various distances up to 13 km in the four cardinal directions. Returning bees were individually registered by a radio frequency identification (RFID) system at the hive entrance. We found that homing rate, homing speed and the maximum homing distance depend on the release direction. Bees released in the east were more likely to find their way back home, and returned faster than bees released in any other direction, due to the familiarity of global landmarks seen from the hive. Our findings suggest that such large scale homing is facilitated by global landmarks acting as beacons, and possibly the entire skyline panorama.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus