Visual regulation of ground speed and headwind compensation in freely flying honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Barron, Andrew and Srinivasan, Mandyam V. (2006) Visual regulation of ground speed and headwind compensation in freely flying honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Journal of Experimental Biology, 209 5: 978-984. doi:10.1242/jeb.02085

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Author Barron, Andrew
Srinivasan, Mandyam V.
Title Visual regulation of ground speed and headwind compensation in freely flying honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2006-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.02085
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 209
Issue 5
Start page 978
End page 984
Total pages 7
Place of publication Cambridge
Publisher Company of Biologists Ltd
Language eng
Abstract There is now increasing evidence that honey bees regulate their ground speed in flight by holding constant the speed at which the image of the environment moves across the eye (optic flow). We have investigated the extent to which ground speed is affected by headwinds. Honey bees were trained to enter a tunnel to forage at a sucrose feeder placed at its far end. Ground speeds in the tunnel were recorded while systematically varying the visual texture of the tunnel, and the strength of headwinds experienced by the flying bees. We found that in a flight tunnel bees used visual cues to maintain their ground speed, and adjusted their air speed to maintain a constant rate of optic How, even against headwinds which were, at their strongest, 50% of a bee's maximum recorded forward velocity. Manipulation of the visual texture revealed that headwind is compensated almost fully even when the optic flow cues are very sparse and subtle, demonstrating the robustness of this visual flight control system. We discuss these findings in the context of field observations of flying bees.
Keyword Biology
optic flow
wind tunnel
Apis mellifera
honey bee
ground speed
Odometry
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Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 25 Jan 2008, 16:48:46 EST