Free Access
Volume 40, Number 1, January-February 2009
Page(s) 55 - 62
Published online 19 December 2008
Apidologie 40 (2009) 55-62
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008074

Does the body orientation of waggle dance followers affect the accuracy of recruitment?

David Tanner and Kirk Visscher

Entomology Department, University of California, Riverside CA 92521, USA

Received 22 September 2008 – Revised 30 September 2008 – Accepted 1 October 2008 - Published online 19 December 2008

Abstract - The honey bee waggle dance is a cascade of behaviors used to advertise the availability of a resource, and communicate its location. Little is known, however, about the behaviors of dance follower bees that allow them to extract information from the dance. We test competing hypotheses that suggest that either follower bees must be located behind a dancer bee or to the side of a dancer bee to be able to extract information from the dance. We also test if behaviors relating to the time that a follower bee spends following a dance are important in collecting dance information. We find that the bees are equally efficient finding a resource indicated by the dance after following a dance from the side or behind a dancer bee. We also find that the number of waggle runs followed has a significant effect on the accuracy of a foraging flight.

Key words: honey bee / Apis mellifera / waggle dance / dance follower behavior

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008