Waggle Dance Essay Research Paper Communication Among

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Waggle Dance Essay, Research Paper Communication Among Honeybees In every bee hive there are three types of bees, a queen, drones, and many workers. The lone queen honeybee is a fertile female, while the drone honeybees are males that are exclusively used for reproduction. It is the many worker honeybees, infertile females, that are responsible for foraging for food. For hundreds of years biologists and naturalists have noticed that the worker honeybees do not all go out to search for food at the same time, but rather send out scouts ahead. These scout honeybees locate the food, return to the hive, and then the rest of the workers go to collect the rest of the food. Many scientists, dating back to Aristotle, have been baffled by how the worker bees are able to locate the food

sought out by the scouts. How do the scout and worker honeybees communicate in the hive to alert each other where to forage for the food? In 1943, an Austrian entomologist, Karl von Frisch hypothesized that the scouts were able to communicate the necessary information to the other worker bees by moving in specific patterns after returning to the hive. He called this movement the waggle dance . Karl von Frisch said that the waggle dance of the honeybee was able to communicate the distance, the direction, and even the type and amount of food to the other worker honeybees. He published his findings in a book called The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees, and later received the noble prize in 1973 for his breakthroughs in animal behavior. Before he published his findings, Karl

von Frisch spent years experimenting and recording observations to try and solve the mystery of honeybee communication. He started by placing a dish filled with sugar water a short distance from a bee hive. He noticed that immediately after placing the dish outside, the dish was swarmed with many honeybees. As the dish continued to empty, increasingly less honeybees came to it. However, if he refilled the dish and one of the bees came to it, then a short while later the dish was once again swarmed with bees. He concluded from this that the scout bees must communicate the information regarding the food to the worker bees when returning to the hive. In order to try and understand how the bees communicated, Karl von Frisch and his colleagues built a transparent bee hive. They marked

the scout bees with red dye on the thorax, and observed that when the scout bees returned to the hive it began to do a series of dances that where immediately followed by many worker honeybees swarming to the food source. Karl von Frisch concluded from this that this dance which he observed was the form of communication between the honeybees. After much analysis and experimentation, Karl von Frisch was able to dissect and begin to understand the different components and purposes of the honeybee s dance. He observed that there were two different dances; a round dance, and a waggle dance. He found that the round dance was used if the food was within 50 meters of the hive. The round dance consists of the scout honeybee moving in small circles and reversing direction every few

revolutions . After completing the dance, the worker honeybees that observed the dance leave the hive to forage for the designated food. From numerous trials, Karl von Frisch showed that the round dance does not convey direction or specific distance, but rather is used to quickly alert the hive that there is food close by. The waggle dance is more complex, and is used when the food is located over 50 meters from the hive. The waggle dance is made up of two distinct parts, a straight run, and round turns . First the scout dances in a straight line while waggling its body very vigorously. Then the scout honeybee turns in one direction and makes a circular turn back to the start position. The straight run is then repeated, but this time the scout makes the circular turn in the