Navigation Links
Bumblebees get by with a little help from their honeybee rivals

Bumblebees can use cues from their rivals the honeybees to learn where the best food resources are, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explain how they trained a colony of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to use cues provided by a different species, the honeybee (Apis mellifera), as well as cues provided by fellow bumblebees to locate food resources on artificial flowers.

They found that the bumblebees were able to learn the information from the honeybees just as efficiently as when the information came from their own species, demonstrating that social learning is not a unique process limited members of the same species.

PhD student Erika Dawson, explains: "Most social learning research has focused on learning between members of the same species. But in the same way that human engineers can pick up useful tricks from animals (such as using bird aerodynamics to design planes), animals might of course learn from different species where the best food is, where predation looms or where the best place to nest can be found.

"We wanted to determine whether animals can use any social cue to enhance their environment, even if they come from another species that share their habitat, resources or predators."

The results show that information learnt from other species can be just as valuable to an animal like the bumblebee as information from their own species. Bees would have opportunities to learn cues from their own species and other species to an equal degree in the wild, as they often share the same flower species as a source of food. This is particularly true for large flowers such as sunflowers, which are often fed from by multiple pollinators simultaneously.

The results also show that competition between the two species may be much more severe than previously assumed, as Erika Dawson explains: "If bumblebees use individual exploration and copying of their fellow bumblebees to identify rewarding plants, but also use the information provided by a rival species (ie honeybees), this could have important ecological implications for community structure and formation, and may help us better understand the impact of competition within natural pollinator communities."

Contact: Sian Halkyard
Queen Mary, University of London

Related biology news :

1. Pollination services at risk following declines of Swedish bumblebees
2. Landing lights for bumblebees
3. Bumblebees learn the sweet smell of foraging success
4. Weird world of water gets a little weirder
5. Little plant tells big stories
6. Simple little spud helps scientists crack potatos mighty genome
7. A little off the top helps NIST map cells with submicrometer resolution
8. Pollution tax rebates little help for low-income workers
9. Secret life of bees now a little less secret
10. Little is understood about alcohols effect on fetal development, Georgetown researchers say
11. Little brown balls tie malaria and algae to common ancestor: UBC research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... biometrics that helps to identify and verify the ... is considered as the secure and accurate method ... of a particular individual because each individual,s signature ... results especially when dynamic signature of an individual ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Minn. , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only ... in the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne ... individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Connecticut , October 29, 2015 ... a biometric authentication company focused on the growing ... smart wallet announces that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace ... be featuring the Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 Cepheid ... of its participation at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference ... this morning, the Company is reaffirming its outlook for ... for 2016, in addition to discussing longer term business ... and Chief Executive Officer.  "We continue to be the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Austin, Texas (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... In his new post, VerMilyea will oversee all IVF lab procedures as ... analysis and fertility preservation. , “We traveled 7,305 miles to Auckland, New Zealand to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group announced that its ... system for isolating adipose-derived stem cells. The announcement starts a new phase toward launching ... is a component of the lipoaspirate obtained from liposuction of excess adipose tissue. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... CHICAGO , Dec. 1, 2015  An interventional radiology ... according to the preliminary results of a study being presented ... North America (RSNA). ... been done for decades by interventional radiologists as a way ... performing the procedure as a means of treating obesity is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: