Apr 1, 2020

Measuring ontogenetic shifts in central-place foraging insects: a case study with honey bees

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Fabrice RequierV. Bretagnolle


Measuring time-activity budgets over the complete individual lifespan is now possible for many animals with the recent advances of life-long individual monitoring devices. Although analyses of changes in the patterns of time-activity budgets have revealed ontogenetic shifts in birds or mammals, no such technique has been applied to date on insects. We tested an automated breakpoint-based procedure to detect, assess and quantify shifts in the temporal pattern of the flight activities in honey bees. We assumed that the learning and foraging stages of honey bees will differ in several respects, to detect the age at onset of foraging (AOF). Using an extensive dataset covering the life-long monitoring of 2,100 individuals, we compared the AOF outputs with the more conventional approaches based on arbitrary thresholds. We further evaluated the robustness of the different methods comparing the foraging time-activity budget allocations between the presumed foragers and confirmed foragers. We revealed a clear-cut learning-foraging ontogenetic shift that differs in duration, frequency, and time of occurrence of flights. Although AOF appeared to be highly plastic among bees, the breakpoint-based procedure seems better able to detect it th...Continue Reading

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