Bumble bees strategically use ground level linear features in navigation

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Brebner, J. S., Makinson, J. C., Bates, O. K., Rossi, N., Lim, K. S., Dubois, T., Gomez-Moracho, T., Lihoreau, M., Chittka, L. and Woodgate, J. L. 2021. Bumble bees strategically use ground level linear features in navigation. Animal Behaviour. 179, pp. 147-160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2021.07.003

AuthorsBrebner, J. S., Makinson, J. C., Bates, O. K., Rossi, N., Lim, K. S., Dubois, T., Gomez-Moracho, T., Lihoreau, M., Chittka, L. and Woodgate, J. L.
Abstract

Extended ground level structures like roads or field edges can be important cues for navigating animals,seen for example in road-following pigeons. In a landscape devoid of skyline cues but with a rectangular grid of pathways and roads, we used harmonic radar to track free-flying bumble bees,Bombus terrestris. Individual bees consistently used ground level linear features for navigation in a wide range of behavioural contexts. Bee exploration flights, search behaviour and foraging routes were shaped by linear features, with bees frequently flying along and parallel to pathways and roads. Comparisons off light trajectories across these behavioural contexts show that individuals modulated their use of linear features strategically with respect to their individual goals and experience. Bees searching for a feeder used linear features to target their search, while foragers often followed pathways to return to their hive without overshooting. These findings on a major pollinator have important implications for the placements of bee colonies for agriculture and floral resources for conservation.

KeywordsBee; Bombus terrestris; Exploration flight; Harmonic radar; Insect navigation; Orientation flight; Pollination ; Road following; Route formation; Search flight
Year of Publication2021
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Journal citation179, pp. 147-160
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2021.07.003
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online30 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted26 May 2021
ISSN0003-3472
PublisherAcademic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd

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