Published on Jan. 22, 2007
Dance of the honeybee
Researchers have identified a brain chemical that could account for the elaborate dance of the honeybee, one of the most complex behaviors in the invertebrate world. Bees returning to the hive from a successful foraging trip will begin to do what's known as a 'waggle dance,' a ritual boogie that passes on the location of a promising food source to other bees embarking on a foraging flight of their own. Treating foragers with the biogenic amine octopamine makes them dance more, says Gene Robinson, a Beckman affiliate and professor of entomology and of neuroscience at Illinois.