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Evidence for counting in insects

Dacke, Marie LU and Srinivasan, Mandyam V. (2008) In Animal Cognition 11(4). p.683-689
Abstract
Here we investigate the counting ability in honeybees by training them to receive a food reward after they have passed a specific number of landmarks. The distance to the food reward is varied frequently and randomly, whilst keeping the number of intervening landmarks constant. Thus, the bees cannot identify the food reward in terms of its distance from the hive. We find that bees can count up to four objects, when they are encountered sequentially during flight. Furthermore, bees trained in this way are able count novel objects, which they have never previously encountered, thus demonstrating that they are capable of object-independent counting. A further experiment reveals that the counting ability that the bees display in our... (More)
Here we investigate the counting ability in honeybees by training them to receive a food reward after they have passed a specific number of landmarks. The distance to the food reward is varied frequently and randomly, whilst keeping the number of intervening landmarks constant. Thus, the bees cannot identify the food reward in terms of its distance from the hive. We find that bees can count up to four objects, when they are encountered sequentially during flight. Furthermore, bees trained in this way are able count novel objects, which they have never previously encountered, thus demonstrating that they are capable of object-independent counting. A further experiment reveals that the counting ability that the bees display in our experiments is primarily sequential in nature. It appears that bees can navigate to food sources by maintaining a running count of prominent landmarks that are passed en route, provided this number does not exceed four. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
cognition, counting, honeybee
in
Animal Cognition
volume
11
issue
4
pages
683 - 689
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000259063000011
  • scopus:51549103267
ISSN
1435-9456
DOI
10.1007/s10071-008-0159-y
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2ca8aac1-c9df-484c-b8fa-401620fe08e7 (old id 1247113)
date added to LUP
2008-11-12 11:37:52
date last changed
2017-10-22 04:10:19
@article{2ca8aac1-c9df-484c-b8fa-401620fe08e7,
  abstract     = {Here we investigate the counting ability in honeybees by training them to receive a food reward after they have passed a specific number of landmarks. The distance to the food reward is varied frequently and randomly, whilst keeping the number of intervening landmarks constant. Thus, the bees cannot identify the food reward in terms of its distance from the hive. We find that bees can count up to four objects, when they are encountered sequentially during flight. Furthermore, bees trained in this way are able count novel objects, which they have never previously encountered, thus demonstrating that they are capable of object-independent counting. A further experiment reveals that the counting ability that the bees display in our experiments is primarily sequential in nature. It appears that bees can navigate to food sources by maintaining a running count of prominent landmarks that are passed en route, provided this number does not exceed four.},
  author       = {Dacke, Marie and Srinivasan, Mandyam V.},
  issn         = {1435-9456},
  keyword      = {cognition,counting,honeybee},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {683--689},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Animal Cognition},
  title        = {Evidence for counting in insects},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-008-0159-y},
  volume       = {11},
  year         = {2008},
}