Visual attention in a complex search task differs between honeybees and bumblebees

Linde Morawetz (Korresp. Autor*in), Johannes Spaethe

    Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


    Mechanisms of spatial attention are used when the amount of gathered information exceeds processing capacity. Such mechanisms have been proposed in bees, but have not yet been experimentally demonstrated. We provide evidence that selective attention influences the foraging performance of two social bee species, the honeybee Apis mellifera and the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Visual search tasks, originally developed for application in human psychology, were adapted for behavioural experiments on bees. We examined the impact of distracting visual information on search performance, which we measured as error rate and decision time. We found that bumblebees were significantly less affected by distracting objects than honeybees. Based on the results, we conclude that the search mechanism in honeybees is serial like, whereas in bumblebees it shows the characteristics of a restricted parallel-like search. Furthermore, the bees differed in their strategy to solve the speed-accuracy trade-off. Whereas bumblebees displayed slow but correct decision-making, honeybees exhibited fast and inaccurate decision-making. We propose two neuronal mechanisms of visual information processing that account for the different responses between honeybees and bumblebees, and we correlate species-specific features of the search behaviour to differences in habitat and life history.
    Seiten (von - bis)2515-2523
    FachzeitschriftJournal of Experimental Biology
    PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2012

    ÖFOS 2012

    • 106012 Evolutionsforschung