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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2004 Jul;190(7):549-60. Epub 2004 Apr 6.

Thorax vibrations of a stingless bee ( Melipona seminigra). II. Dependence on sugar concentration.

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Biocenter, Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien, Austria.


Using a laser vibrometer we studied the influence of the food's sugar concentration on different parameters of the thorax vibrations produced by foragers of Melipona seminigra during trophallaxis in the nest. The concentrations tested (20-70% sugar w/w) were within the biologically relevant range. They substantially influenced different parameters of the thorax vibrations. An increase of energy gains at the food source due to an increased sugar concentration was followed by an increase of both the pulse duration and the duty cycle and by a decrease of the pause duration between two subsequent pulses. These findings further support the hypothesis that the temporal pattern of the thorax vibrations reflects the energy budget of a foraging trip rather than food source distance. Likewise, the steep increase of pulse duration variability with sugar concentration is hard to reconcile with the assumption that pulse duration conveys reliable information about food source distance when bees collect at high-quality food sources.

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