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How honeybees read the waggle dance

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Credit: Courtesy of Ai et al.

Neurons that enable honeybees to sense the waggle dance — a form of symbolic communication used by female bees to inform the hivemates about the location of a food source — are investigated in new research published in JNeurosci.

Upon returning to the hive, female working bees perform a dance that represents the distance and direction of nectar-rich flowers. Since the waggle dance was first described in 1967 (and its discovery awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973), it has remained unknown how the honeybee brain deciphers the dance into useful information.

Hiroyuki Ai and colleagues raised honeybees in hives on the Fukuoka University campus in Japan to study how three major types of interneurons in the auditory center of the honeybee brain respond to vibration pulses similar to those produced during the waggle phase of the dance. Their work lays a foundation for understanding how social insects process symbolic communication.

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Article: Interneurons in the honeybee primary auditory center responding to waggle dance-like vibration pulses

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0044-17.2017

Corresponding author: Hiroyuki Ai (Fukuoka University, Japan), [email protected]

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0044-17.2017

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