Followers of honey bee waggle dancers change their behavior when dancers are sleep-restricted or perform imprecise dances

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Barrett A KleinDavid M. Reineke


Communication and sleep are important for humans and honey bees alike. Despite this, studies reporting consequences of sleep loss on animal communication, both signaling and receiving, are surprisingly limited. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) can famously signal the destination of a food source with a waggle dance, but when sleep-restricted, dancers perform directionally less precise dances. We analyzed dance follower behavior with respect to the directional precision of a dance and whether or not the dancer had been sleep-restricted. Followers were more likely to switch dances if following an imprecise dance, and more likely to exit the nest if following a precise dance. Followers were also more likely to exit the nest after following a dance composed of more iterations (waggle phases), but only if the dancer was sleep-restricted. Bees appeared to follow fewer waggle phases of a dance that was less precise, but, again, only if the dancer was sleep-restricted. Following fewer waggle phases has been shown to decrease the flight accuracy of a bee, so our results suggest that cues associated with sleep loss could affect the foraging success of a follower. This study presents a unique case of sender-receiver effects of sleep loss in an...Continue Reading

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Apis mellifera
Colony (Cells or Organisms)

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