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Scientists solve bee flight route mystery

Posted on Monday, 24 September, 2012 | Comment icon 17 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

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Far from following a random flight pattern bees have the ability to plan the most efficient route.

In an effort to better understand the flight patterns of the common bumblebee, scientists attached tiny antennae to the insects so they could track them as they flew from flower to flower. What the team found was that despite having a brain no bigger than a grass seed the bees were able to calculate the most efficient route to collect as much food as possible and return it to their nest.

The findings emphasize the incredible capabilities of the insects despite their tiny brain size. "Without the benefit of sat nav or GPS they can work out the quickest way to do their job," said study co-author Dr Nigel Raine.

"The team from Queen Mary’s University and Royal Holloway University in London in London attached tiny antennae to tens of bees that pinged back the location of the insects as they foraged for pollen and nectar."

  View: Full article |  Source: Telegraph

  Discuss: View comments (17)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Neognosis on 25 September, 2012, 12:50
I like when we do things like this to animals, as I think we have a lot to learn from them, and I would rather our science moved forward in a more organic manner, rather than away from the natural world.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Lady Kasey on 25 September, 2012, 16:37
Comment icon #10 Posted by Junior Chubb on 25 September, 2012, 22:56
I would say you read the article correctly, maybe there is more to it than we realise as we may not have considered all the involved factors in their 'learning' of the quickest route. Oh and also, 'Topping yourself' is a slang term for suicide...
Comment icon #11 Posted by ouija ouija on 26 September, 2012, 12:37
'Topping' yourself means committing suicide. I am only partly speaking in jest; I really do find this type of physical intrusion into other species very depressing and upsetting.
Comment icon #12 Posted by ouija ouija on 26 September, 2012, 12:51
We can learn a lot by observation, but it seems as if just consciously looking at the world around us has gone out of fashion. It seems as if research is only valuable these days if it has had a lot of money thrown at it and a lot of equipment is used. Two things: firstly,why do you think it's okay for humans to do this? (We certainly wouldn't accept such behaviour from another species! We wouldn't even do it to another human without their consent). Secondly: what we learn as a species from all this intrusion mainly seems to be ways in which we can further exploit the natural... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Idano on 26 September, 2012, 13:17
Thanks for the definition. Zoos', Seaworld .... wild animals (is that an oxymoron?) in captivity makes me sad. I'm trying to teach my Grand daughter about animals and why zoos' hurt Grandmas heart, but I don't [u]act,[/u] my bad! It sounds like you do though so NO TOPPING!! We need your ilk. Tagging, gee i'm still on the fence...we learn so much to help animals, where they go, what they eat, how we can help them withstand our never ending push for land (whole diff thread). On the other hand I'm sure that individual animal is harmed (pain of the tag, ostrac... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by ouija ouija on 26 September, 2012, 16:30
You will act when the time is right
Comment icon #15 Posted by ouija ouija on 26 September, 2012, 16:51
I keep forgetting to post this in here: one summer a few years ago, a lot of 'Daddy Longlegs' insects hatched out of my back lawn. I was watching them struggle out of the ground, dry their wings off and then eventually make an attempt at flying, when a huge dragonfly appeared. My lawn is about 40' x 40', and that dragonfly started at one side then made passes from the end nearest the house to the end farthest away, up and down, up and down, gradually moving a few inches to his left with each pass until he had systematically covered the entire area, munching on 'Daddy Longle... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Junior Chubb on 26 September, 2012, 21:51
I wish my son could have seen this, then he would stop calling 'Daddy Long Legs' 'Dragonflies'. I tell him time after time they are Crane flies (daddy long legs) but it does not sink in, then today while we were out him and a friend found some hatching as you described, guess what, his friend called it a Dragon Fly too... Then you get those that call Harvestman Spiders Daddy long legs, wtf is that all about? This might need its own thread actually... Glad you sit on the right side of the Daddy Long Legs fence though.
Comment icon #17 Posted by ouija ouija on 27 September, 2012, 13:13
Honestly! *rolls eyes* What DO they teach kids in school these days? *more eye rolling*

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