Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

Possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications

Anna Dornhaus, L. Chittka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The return of a successful bumblebee forager stimulates nestmates to leave the nest and search for food. Here we investigate the mechanisms by which this happens. Successful Bombus terrestris foragers perform irregular runs in their nest, often lasting for several minutes. Run duration is at its maximum when food has just been discovered. Running likely serves to distribute a pheromone, since the information flow between "runners" and "recruits" can be disrupted by eliminating air exchange, while leaving other potential means of communication intact. In addition, nectar stores in the nest may be monitored continuously. A sudden influx of nectar into the nest also causes measurable increases in forager activity. The implications of bumblebee recruitment behavior for the evolution of communication in bees are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-576
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Plant Nectar
Bombus terrestris
Bombus
nest
Communication
nests
Food
food
Bees
Pheromones
nectar
Running
animal communication
Air
pheromone
bee
pheromones
Apoidea
communication
air

Keywords

  • Bee dance
  • Communication
  • Foraging
  • Pheromone
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) : Possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications. / Dornhaus, Anna; Chittka, L.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 50, No. 6, 2001, p. 570-576.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4faa1c809479490fb83dce8cea47e403,
title = "Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): Possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications",
abstract = "The return of a successful bumblebee forager stimulates nestmates to leave the nest and search for food. Here we investigate the mechanisms by which this happens. Successful Bombus terrestris foragers perform irregular runs in their nest, often lasting for several minutes. Run duration is at its maximum when food has just been discovered. Running likely serves to distribute a pheromone, since the information flow between {"}runners{"} and {"}recruits{"} can be disrupted by eliminating air exchange, while leaving other potential means of communication intact. In addition, nectar stores in the nest may be monitored continuously. A sudden influx of nectar into the nest also causes measurable increases in forager activity. The implications of bumblebee recruitment behavior for the evolution of communication in bees are discussed.",
keywords = "Bee dance, Communication, Foraging, Pheromone, Recruitment",
author = "Anna Dornhaus and L. Chittka",
year = "2001",
doi = "10.1007/s002650100395",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "50",
pages = "570--576",
journal = "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology",
issn = "0340-5443",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

T2 - Possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications

AU - Dornhaus, Anna

AU - Chittka, L.

PY - 2001

Y1 - 2001

N2 - The return of a successful bumblebee forager stimulates nestmates to leave the nest and search for food. Here we investigate the mechanisms by which this happens. Successful Bombus terrestris foragers perform irregular runs in their nest, often lasting for several minutes. Run duration is at its maximum when food has just been discovered. Running likely serves to distribute a pheromone, since the information flow between "runners" and "recruits" can be disrupted by eliminating air exchange, while leaving other potential means of communication intact. In addition, nectar stores in the nest may be monitored continuously. A sudden influx of nectar into the nest also causes measurable increases in forager activity. The implications of bumblebee recruitment behavior for the evolution of communication in bees are discussed.

AB - The return of a successful bumblebee forager stimulates nestmates to leave the nest and search for food. Here we investigate the mechanisms by which this happens. Successful Bombus terrestris foragers perform irregular runs in their nest, often lasting for several minutes. Run duration is at its maximum when food has just been discovered. Running likely serves to distribute a pheromone, since the information flow between "runners" and "recruits" can be disrupted by eliminating air exchange, while leaving other potential means of communication intact. In addition, nectar stores in the nest may be monitored continuously. A sudden influx of nectar into the nest also causes measurable increases in forager activity. The implications of bumblebee recruitment behavior for the evolution of communication in bees are discussed.

KW - Bee dance

KW - Communication

KW - Foraging

KW - Pheromone

KW - Recruitment

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0035176622&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0035176622&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s002650100395

DO - 10.1007/s002650100395

M3 - Article

VL - 50

SP - 570

EP - 576

JO - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

JF - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

SN - 0340-5443

IS - 6

ER -