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 Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION 2018 in Switzerland focuses on building blocks for industrial digitalization

20.11.2017 | Trade Fair News

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>