Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Dancing attraction: followers of honey bee tremble and waggle dances exhibit similar behaviors.

  • Author(s): Lam, Calvin;
  • Li, Yanlei;
  • Landgraf, Tim;
  • Nieh, James
  • et al.

The function of the honey bee tremble dance and how it attracts signal receivers is poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that tremble followers and waggle followers exhibit the same dance-following behavior. If correct, this could unify our understanding of dance following, provide insight into dance information transfer, and offer a way to identify the signal receivers of tremble dance information. Followers showed similar initial attraction to and tracking of dancers. However, waggle dancers were faster than tremble dancers, and follower-forward, -sideways, and -angular velocities were generally similar to the velocities of their respective dancers. Waggle dancers attracted followers from 1.3-fold greater distances away than tremble dancers. Both follower types were attracted to the lateral sides of dancers, but tremble followers were more attracted to the dancer's head, and waggle followers were more attracted to the dancer's abdomen. Tremble dancers engaged in 4-fold more brief food exchanges with their followers than waggle dancers. The behaviors of both follower types are therefore relatively conserved. Researchers can now take the next steps, observing tremble followers to determine their subsequent behaviors and testing the broader question of whether follower attraction and tracking is conserved in a wide range of social insects.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View