Bee positive: the importance of electroreception in pollinator cognitive ecology

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Bee positive: the importance of electroreception in pollinator cognitive ecology

Authors
Publisher
Frontiers Media S.A.
Volume
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00445
Keywords
  • Psychology
  • General Commentary Article

Abstract

Bee positive: the importance of electroreception in pollinator cognitive ecology GENERAL COMMENTARY published: 17 July 2013 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00445 Bee positive: the importance of electroreception in pollinator cognitive ecology Mathieu Lihoreau1* and Nigel E. Raine2 1 School of Biological Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2 School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK *Correspondence: [email protected] Edited by: Ken Cheng, Macquarie University, Australia Reviewed by: Björn Brembs, University of Regensburg, Germany A commentary on Detection and learning of floral electric fields by bumblebees by Clarke, D., Whitney, H., Sutton, G., and Robert, D. (2013). Science 340, 66–69. doi: 10.1126/science.1230883 Reception and learning of electric fields in bees by Greggers, U., Koch, G., Schmidt, V., Dürr, A., Floriou-Servou, A., Piepenbrock, D., Göpfert, M. C., and Menzel, R. (2013). Proc. R. Soc. B 280:20130528. doi: 10.1098/ rspb.2013.0528 The global atmospheric circuit gener- ates a permanent electric field between the Earth surface and outer atmosphere (Rycroft et al., 2000). The ground and plants conductively linked to it are neg- atively charged (Bowker and Crenshaw, 2007), whereas animals build up positive charge as they move in contact with air molecules (Jackson andMcGonigle, 2005). Electric fields emanating from plants and pollinators, such as bees, are believed to promote pollination by enabling pollen grains to “jump” from flowers to pol- linators and vice versa (Corbet et al., 1982). Two recent studies reveal that bees not only detect these electric fields but also learn to discriminate them, indicat- ing that electroreception should be seri- ously considered alongside vision and olfaction when studying bee behavior and ecology. Writing in Science, Clarke et al. (2013) demonstrated that bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) detect electric fields around

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