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Honeybees perform optimal scale-free searching flights when attempting to locate a food source

Honeybees perform optimal scale-free searching flights when attempting to locate a food source

Reynolds, Andrew M., Smith, Alan D., Reynolds, Don R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8749-7491, Carreck, Norman L. and Osborne, Juliet L. (2007) Honeybees perform optimal scale-free searching flights when attempting to locate a food source. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 210 (21). pp. 3763-3770. ISSN 0022-0949 (doi:10.1242/jeb.009563)

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Abstract

The foraging strategies used by animals are key to their
success in spatially and temporally heterogeneous
environments. We hypothesise that when a food source at a
known location ceases to be available, flying insects will
exhibit search patterns that optimise the rediscovery of
such resources. In order to study these searching patterns,
foraging honeybees were trained to an artificial feeder that
was then removed, and the subsequent flight patterns of the
bees were recorded using harmonic radar. We show that
the flight patterns have a scale-free (Lévy-flight)
characteristic that constitutes an optimal searching
strategy for the location of the feeder. It is shown that this searching strategy would remain optimal even if the
implementation of the Lévy-flights was imprecise due, for
example, to errors in the bees’ path integration system or
difficulties in responding to variable wind conditions. The
implications of these findings for animal foraging in
general are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: optimal search strategy, imprecise Lévy-flight, honeybee, Apis mellifera, harmonic radar tracking
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2015 14:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/2393

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