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Nature31 May 2001

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Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Vision: Honeybees dance the distance

Nature cover 24 May 2001
Image � Marco Kleinhenz, Univ. Würzburg.

When you look out of a train window, nearby objects flash by whereas more distant scenery appears to move much more slowly. Honeybees use this phenomenon of 'optical flow' to gauge distance, which is then translated into a proportionately longer 'waggle-dance'. But what of the 'audience' for the dance? Confirmation that the length of the waggle dance is perceived by the watching bees in the same way as by the watching experimenters comes from the finding that if the trained dancer bees fly to a food source via a short tunnel, artificially increasing optical flow, the bees decoding the dance search for a non-existing food source in the far distance encoded by the dance.


letters to nature
Honeybee dances communicate distances measured by optic flow
HARALD E. ESCH, SHAOWU ZHANG, MANDYAN V. SRINIVASAN & JUERGEN TAUTZ
Nature 411, 581-583 (31 May 2001)
| First Paragraph | Full Text | PDF (136 K) |


lifelines: Bees go with the flow


31 May 2001 table of contents

 

  
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