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  1. #1
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    Mar 2004
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    On the POV portion of this board, there are numerous articles questioning the validity of of the bee waggle dance. New research seems to support the concept.
    "WAGGLE DANCE CONTROVERSY RESOLVED BY RADAR RECORDS OF BEE FLIGHT PATHS
    Press release embargoed until 1800 hrs London time / 1300 US Eastern Time 11 May, 2005.

    A paper published in Nature on May 12th (1) provides new data that resolves a long-standing scientific controversy. In the 1960s, Nobel Prize winning zoologist, Karl von Frisch, proposed that honeybees use dance (the"waggle dance") as a coded message to guide other bees to new food sources. However, some scientists did not accept von Frisch's theory. Using harmonic radar, scientists have now tracked the flight of bees that had attended a "waggle dance" and found that they flew straight to the vicinity of the feeding site, as predicted by von Frisch. The tracks allowed the scientists to determine how accurately bees translate the dance code into successful navigation, and showed that they correct for wind drift even when en route to destinations they have never visited before.

    If a honeybee worker discovers a good feeding site it is believed that she informs her nest mates through a dance that describes the distance and direction of the feeding site. This 'dance language' was first described by Karl von Frish in the 1960s but his experiments also showed that bees that had attended the dance (recruits) took far longer to get to food than would be expected. This time delay caused other scientists to argue that the recruits did not read the abstract code in the dance at all, but found the food source simply by tracking down the smell that they had picked up from the dancing bee. Another suggestion was that recruits simply followed the dancer when she flew back to the food, and then other bees joined in. The controversy has persisted because prior to the advent of harmonic radar, no one could show exactly where the recruits flew when they left their hives.

    The scientists watched the waggle dance occurring in a glass observation hive and identified recruits. They captured these recruits as they left the hive, attached a radar transponder to them and then tracked their flight paths using harmonic radar. Most recruited bees undertook a flight path that took them straight to the vicinity of the feeding site where they all spent a lot of time in searching flights, trying to locate its exact position. This searching behaviour accounts for the time lag that caused the original controversy.

    In another set of experiments, bee recruits leaving the hive were taken to release sites up to 250m away. These bees flew, not to the feeding site, but in the direction that would have taken them to the feeding site had they not been displaced from the hive. This result add weight to von Frisch's original theory and allow alternative hypotheses about bee behaviour to be firmly discounted. Photos available on request. Contacts: Dr Elspeth Bartlet, Rothamsted Research. Tel: 01582 763133 ext 2260 Mobile 07870161628 E-mail: ebartlet @ bbsrc.ac.uk.

    Notes for Authors

    (1) The flight paths of honeybees recruited by the waggle dance' Nature J. R. Riley (a), U. Greggers (b), A. D. Smith (a), D. R. Reynolds(c) & R. Menzel (b)
    (a) Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Division, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK
    (b) Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Biologie, Chemie, Pharmazie, Institut für Biologie - Neurobiologie, 28-30 Königin-Luise-Strasse, D-14195, Berlin, Germany
    (c) Plant, Animal and Human Health Group, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Central Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TB, UK
    (2) Data analysis and writing up was supported by the Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship programme. The research was carried out with joint funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (BBSRC). Rothamsted Research receives grant aided assistance from the BBSRC.
    (3) Rothamsted Research (www.rothamsted.ac.uk) is one of the largest agricultural research institutes in the country and is sponsored by the BBSRC." as reported in http://www.beedata.com/apis-uk/newsl...pis-uk0505.htm

  2. #2
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    Sep 2004
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    I don't think the controversy was about the fact that the dance relays information on nectar and other information. But rather the "cognitive" ability, and means of relaying that information.

    I did not read every detail of that previous post, but that was the impression I had on the dispute. I may (and probably am) wrong on my impression.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2005
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    ****... and here I thought that de-nile was a river in Africa...

  4. #4
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    Jul 2005
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    The significance of the wag tail dance has to do with learning and memory. A recent Nobel prize was awarded for studying the molecular basis of learning and memory in Aplysia (snails). Honeybees could likewise prove useful in this field because they have simple nervous systems, but exhibit a surprising amount of behavioral plasticity (especially as it pertains to foraging and nest location)

  5. #5
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    Jan 2001
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    > On the POV portion of this board, there are
    > numerous articles questioning the validity
    > of the bee waggle dance.

    That's because such questions are mere argument,
    not actual science offering hard data about
    how else the bees might do what they do to be the
    highly efficient and effective foragers they are.

    If actual data to SUPPORT some alternative
    mechanism was offered, and no mention of "dance"
    was required to explain it, one would then have
    something that advances knowledge. It would be
    publishable in actual journals rather than on a
    website as mere "Point Of View". What is presented is
    critique and argument, attempting to pick away
    at "dance", and claiming that, due to the
    perceived shortcomings in the work done on dance",
    that one must accept the alternative presented
    as "true", simply because "dance" is not "proven"
    to their satisfaction.

    That strange sense of deja-vu you might be
    having is due to the amazing similarity between
    the approach adopted by "dance critics", and
    the approach taken by creationists (oops, I
    guess I must now say "proponents of intelligent
    design", as traditional creationism has become
    an embarrassment to even the creationists themselves).

    Even if A may not be true, this does not imply
    that B is true simply because A is false.

    My favorite theory is that bees actually have
    telepathic powers, and dance simply for the
    sheer joy of it because they are happy that
    they fond high-grade goodies. This theory
    is just as viable an alternative to "dance"
    as anything offered up by the dance critics.

    Its my theory, and my theory alone. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Aug 2004
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    N. Ridgeville, OH, USA
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    The "Happy Dance" theory.. I could go for that.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubb...5;t=000146;p=1

    This is the most recent discussion of the subject.

    IMO, you can argue all you want about the details if you like, but put a good source of rich syrup out and if one bee finds it, see how long it takes for that bee to bring the whole hive. OBVIOUSLY they do communicate it somehow. No amount of "scientific" research is going to change that.

    [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Jan 2005
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    North Georgia mountains
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    tecu...

    nenial: Don't Even No (Know) I'm A Liar.

    A common condition of active addicts and myrmadon liberals...LOL.

    BubbaBob

  9. #9
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    Jan 2004
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    Last night I put some cappings out on an old window screen for them to clean up, about 100 feet from the hives, and hung around to see what happened. After drinking her fill, the first bee there flew a couple figure eights over the feed source, then flew back to the hive.

    Has anyone correlated this figure 8 to the dance? Seemed pretty obvious to me that the bee was doing an orientation flight, lining up the sun with the source and the hive, so when she returned to the hive she would be able to do her dance.

  10. #10
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    jim fischer adds:
    My favorite theory is that bees actually have
    telepathic powers, and dance simply for the
    sheer joy of it because they are happy that
    they fond high-grade goodies. This theory
    is just as viable an alternative to "dance"
    as anything offered up by the dance critics.
    Its my theory, and my theory alone.

    tecumseh adds:
    I kinda of like it Jim. Did you by any chance do an undergraduate at Swarthmore?

    mizz tecumseh teachs animal behavior at the large state university just a bit to the north of our little house. she also had the opportunity to work with one of the fellows who won the nobel with Frisch. so I posed this question to her and she says the question turns on just how cognition is defined. The real question seem to be... is the response hard wired or does some information processing take place before a response is instigated.

  11. #11
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    > first bee there flew a couple figure eights over
    > the feed source, then flew back to the hive.

    > Has anyone correlated this figure 8 to the dance?

    More often, a bee taking flight simply circles
    a few times. This is merely an attempt to gather
    enough data from the UV patterns in the sky
    to find out where the bee is, and thereby, where
    the hive is.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
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    804

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    Hi Guys,

    Some interesting studies have been done on the navigational abilities of ants. They can use magnetism, dead reckoning and scent. And a fair amount of cognition is involved when ants encounter obstacles or conflicting info. I suspect that bees can navigate/forage in much the same way.

    It would seem very strange if a creature, having more than a few senses, could only use a few of them to get around and find food. I suspect that a bee uses most of it's senses for that purpose. Maybe both propents to either side of this argument are both right, err both wrong? :&gt))

    And I would find it highly unlikely that a social creature, like the bee, would be unable to communicate it's knowledge, gained from all those senses, to others in the colony, especially concerning gathering food.

    I doubt that we humans can truely understand just how the bees perceive what happens in the bee dance. After all we aren't bees, nor did we design them. But it's a very simple matter to correlate what the bees do here, with what they do over there and certainly infer a relationship which was very easily tested.

    And since no one can truely know what's going on in the bees mind, I will offer my opinion. Rather than dancing, which usually involves different genders, and is associated with mating in many species. I think the bees are rather, gossiping. After all, they are all females and when one starts up, all the others gather around and follow closely to find out about the good stuff :&gt))

    Regards
    Dennis
    And I must say that if I have offended anyone with my rather anthropomorphic characterizations and blatant genderisms, then the offended should lighten up and get a life. :&gt))))))))
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

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