Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Biol. 2016 Aug 15;219(Pt 16):2426-9. doi: 10.1242/jeb.143214. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

Evidence of trapline foraging in honeybees.

Author information

1
Research Center on Animal Cognition (CRCA), Center for Integrative Biology (CBI), University of Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, Toulouse 31200, France.
2
Research Center on Animal Cognition (CRCA), Center for Integrative Biology (CBI), University of Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, Toulouse 31200, France mathieu.lihoreau@univ-tlse3.fr.

Abstract

Central-place foragers exploiting floral resources often use multi-destination routes (traplines) to maximise their foraging efficiency. Recent studies on bumblebees have showed how solitary foragers can learn traplines, minimising travel costs between multiple replenishing feeding locations. Here we demonstrate a similar routing strategy in the honeybee (Apis mellifera), a major pollinator known to recruit nestmates to discovered food resources. Individual honeybees trained to collect sucrose solution from four artificial flowers arranged within 10 m of the hive location developed repeatable visitation sequences both in the laboratory and in the field. A 10-fold increase of between-flower distances considerably intensified this routing behaviour, with bees establishing more stable and more efficient routes at larger spatial scales. In these advanced social insects, trapline foraging may complement cooperative foraging for exploiting food resources near the hive (where dance recruitment is not used) or when resources are not large enough to sustain multiple foragers at once.

KEYWORDS:

Apis mellifera; Honey bee; Navigation; Route learning; Spatial cognition

PMID:
27307487
DOI:
10.1242/jeb.143214
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center