Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bumblebees copy one another when contending with unfamiliar flowers

22.06.2005


Researchers have reported findings that offer a surprising new twist to our understanding of how bumblebees, a vital floral pollinator, select the flowers from which they collect nectar. When faced with unfamiliar plants, foraging bees do not choose flowers entirely alone but instead copy the choices of other bees. The new findings suggest that bees adjust their behavior when dealing with flowers of unfamiliar plant species.



The observations are reported in the June 21 issue of Current Biology in a new paper by Elli Leadbeater and Lars Chittka of Queen Mary, University of London.

Bumblebees are highly social insects, but they do not recruit nestmates to feeding locations, and foragers have therefore been thought to rely mainly on individual experience when seeking out rewarding flowers. The role of other bees in these decisions has been considered only in the context of deterrence because the small scent marks that foragers leave after emptying flowers dissuade others from visiting.


In the new study, the researchers offered bumblebees the choice between several artificial-flower clusters in a laboratory setting. The bees preferred to feed from clusters where another bee was already collecting nectar, rather than making their own independent choices. Most interestingly, the bees only copied each other when they knew nothing about the flower species that they were visiting. When revisiting a flower species that they had tried before, they relied upon their own individual initiative.

It’s not yet possible to say why bumblebees visit flowers that other bees are foraging on, but it could be that bees learn that the presence of another bee provides an efficient shortcut to success. These findings provide an intriguing new contribution to the ever-growing stack of evidence suggesting that insect foraging behavior is surprisingly complex.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>