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Does Imprecision in The Waggle Dance Fit Patterns Predicted by The Tuned-Error Hypothesis?


The waggle dance of the honey bee is used to recruit nest mates to a resource, though direction indicated for a resource may vary greatly within a single dance. Some authors suggest that this variation exits as an adaptation to distribute recruits across a patch of flowers, and that, due to the variation’s inverse relationship with distance, the shape of the recruit distribution will remain constant for resources at different distances. In this study, we test this hypothesis by examining how variation in the indication of direction and distance changes with respect to distance. We find that imprecision in the communication of direction does not diminish rapidly enough to accommodate an adaptive-error hypothesis, and we also find that variation in the indication of distance has a positive relationship with the distance of a resource from the hive.

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