Because of changing environmental conditions, honey bee, Apis mellifera , nectar foragers must constantly assess resources. A forager's perception of resource profitability may be affected by her past foraging experience. To test this, the concentrations of sucrose solutions in feeders were varied and dance characteristics that serve as indicators of resource profitability were recorded. Round dances of foragers that had last visited a lesser concentration than that on which they were presently foraging had higher rates of directional reversal, circuit rates and speeds than those of foragers on the same concentration that had last visited a feeder offering a higher sucrose concentration. Dance information related to resource profitability was thus modulated by the immediate past experience of a forager, and was not based strictly on absolute resource profitability. Losses were weighted more heavily than gains. Contrary to the assumptions of current models of optimal prey choice, past foraging experience can influence resource assessment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology