Thursday, February 14, 2019

Shut up and dance

In Science Advances today, some unexpected (to me) findings about the honeybee waggle dance:

"Strikingly, colonies with disoriented dances had greater foraging success. Over time, bees exposed to disoriented dances showed reduced interest in dancing nestmates. This may explain why disoriented colonies had a higher foraging rate than oriented colonies, as bees did not waste time waiting for information."

1 comment:

  1. I think this makes sense: typically bees dance to rally their sisters and half-sisters to rich pollen and nectar sources that may be at some distance from the hive. Bees hate to waste time, so this is the most efficient way to exploit resources when there are many choices to be made -- it is better to work one or two very rich sources than five or six mediocre ones. But when pickins get slim, you are just wasting time by trying to rally people to one mediocre source or another, when there are only mediocre sources. Better to just fly out randomly and see what happens.