June 3 2009

12:00 LSB 2320

James Nieh
Section of Ecology, Behavior & Evolution, UCSD

“Alluring scents and sounds: stingless bee recruitment communication”


Stingless bees are a diverse group of tropical bees that are all highly social and possess one of the widest ranges of foraging communications systems known in social insects. Their communication repertoire includes point source odor-marking, partial odor trails, complete odor trails, and polarized odor trails. They can use visual cues to help them find and orient towards odor trails, strategies that can be exploited by intended and unintended receivers. In addition, meliponines may also use piloting, and potential sound and vibratory communication inside the nest. Experiments in progress show that stingless bee (Melipona panamica) recruits can be misdirected to a fictive distance by foragers trained to flight tunnels providing high levels of optic flow. This suggests that foragers can referentially communicate food location inside the nest. Moreover, preliminary results with vertical flight tunnels suggest that this species can use optic flow to determine food height. I will explore the remarkable diversity of meliponine communication strategies and consider the evidence for and against referential sound and vibrational communication in stingless bees.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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