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Modeling the Adaptive Role of Negative Signaling in Honey Bee Intraspecific Competition

  • Author(s): Johnson, Brian R.;
  • Nieh, James C.
  • et al.

Collective decision making in the social insects often proceeds via feedback cycles based on positive signaling. Negative signals have, however, been found in a few contexts in which costs exist for paying attention to no longer useful information. Here we incorporate new research on the specificity and context of the negative stop signal into an agent based model of honey bee foraging to explore the adaptive basis of negative signaling in the dance language. Our work suggests that the stop signal, by acting as a counterbalance to the waggle dance, allows colonies to rapidly shut down attacks on other colonies. This could be a key adaptation, as the costs of attacking a colony strong enough to defend itself are significant.

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