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Homing Faculty of Hymenoptera

Naturevolume 32page630 (1885) | Download Citation



IN connection with Sir John Lubbock's paper at the British Association, in which this subject is treated, it is perhaps worth while to describe some experiments which I made last year. The question to be answered is whether bees find their way home merely by their knowledge of landmarks or by means of some mysterious faculty usually termed a sense of direction. The ordinary impression appears to have been that they do so in virtue of some such sense, and are therefore independent of any special knowledge of the district in which they may be suddenly liberated; and, as Sir John Lubbock observes, this impression was corroborated by the experiments of M. Fabre. The conclusions drawn from these experiments, however, appeared to me, as they appeared to Sir John, unwarranted by the facts; and therefore, like him, I repeated them with certain variations. In the result I satisfied myself that the bees depend entirely upon their special knowledge of district or land-marks, and it is because my experiments thus fully corroborate those which were made by Sir John that it now occurs to me to publish them.


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