Harmonic radar tracking reveals that honeybee drones navigate between multiple aerial leks

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Woodgate, J. L., Makinson, J. C., Rossi, N., Reynolds, A. M., Rawlings, C. J. and Chittka, L. 2021. Harmonic radar tracking reveals that honeybee drones navigate between multiple aerial leks. iScience. 24 (6), p. 102499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102499

AuthorsWoodgate, J. L., Makinson, J. C., Rossi, N., Reynolds, A. M., Rawlings, C. J. and Chittka, L.
Abstract

Male honeybees (drones) are thought to congregate in large numbers in particular “drone congregation areas” to mate. We used harmonic radar to record the flight paths of individual drones and found that drones favored certain locations within the landscape which were stable over two years. Drones often visit multiple potential lekking sites within a single flight and take shared flight paths between them. Flights between such sites are relatively straight and begin as early as the drone's second flight, indicating familiarity with the sites acquired during initial learning flights. Arriving at congregation areas, drones display convoluted, looping flight patterns. We found a correlation between a drone's distance from the center of each area and its acceleration toward the center, a signature of collective behavior leading to congregation in these areas. Our study reveals the behavior of individual drones as they navigate between and within multiple aerial leks.

Year of Publication2021
JournaliScience
Journal citation24 (6), p. 102499
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102499
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Publisher's version
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 May 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Apr 2021
PublisherCell Press

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