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Honeybee navigation: following routes using polarized-light cues

Royal Society
Publication Date
  • Navigation
  • Honeybee
  • Polarization Vision
  • Orientation
  • Biology And Life Sciences


While it is generally accepted that honeybees (Apis mellifera) are capable of using the pattern of polarized light in the sky to navigate to a food source, there is little or no direct behavioural evidence that they actually do so. We have examined whether bees can be trained to find their way through a maze composed of four interconnected tunnels, by using directional information provided by polarized light illumination from the ceilings of the tunnels. The results show that bees can learn this task, thus demonstrating directly, and for the first time, that bees are indeed capable of using the polarized-light information in the sky as a compass to steer their way to a food source.

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