The Waggle Dance - It's all in the movement

The foragers communicate their floral findings in order to recruit other worker bees of the hive to forage in the same area. The factors that determine recruiting success are not completely known but probably include evaluations of the quality of nectar and/or pollen brought in.
There are two main hypotheses to explain how foragers recruit other workers - the "Waggle dance" or "dance language" theory and the "odor plume" theory. The dance language theory is far more widely accepted, and has far more empirical support. The theories also differ in that the former allows for an important role of odor in recruitment (i.e., effective recruitment relies on dance plus order), while the latter claims that the dance is essentially irrelevant (recruitment relies on odor alone).
It has long been known that successfully foraging Western honey bees perform a dance on their return to the hive, known as waggle dance, indicating that food is nearby. The laden foragers dances on the comb in a circular pattern, occasionally crossing the circle in a zig-zag or waggle pattern.
Aristotle described this behaviour in his Historua Animalium. It was though to attract the attention of other bees. In 1947, Karl von Frisch correlated the run and turns of the dance to the distance and direction of the food source from the hive.
The orientation of the dance correlates to the relative position of the sun to the food source, and the length of the waggle portion of the run is correlated to the distance from the hive. Also, the more vigorous the display is, the better the food. There is no evidence that this from of communication depends on individual learning.

 

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