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The moment before touchdown: landing manoeuvres of the honeybee Apis mellifera

Evangelista, C.; Kraft, P.; Dacke, Marie LU ; Reinhard, J. and Srinivasan, M. V. (2010) In Journal of Experimental Biology 213(2). p.262-270
Abstract
Although landing is a crucial part of insect flight, it has attracted relatively little study. Here, we investigate, for the first time, the final moments of a honeybee's (Apis mellifera) landing manoeuvre. Using high-speed video recordings, we analyse the behaviour of bees as they approach and land on surfaces of various orientations. The bees enter a stable hover phase, immediately prior to touchdown. We have quantified behaviour during this hover phase and examined whether it changes as the tilt of the landing surface is varied from horizontal (floor), through sloped (uphill) and vertical (wall), to inverted (ceiling). The bees hover at a remarkably constant distance from the surface, irrespective of its tilt. Body inclination increases... (More)
Although landing is a crucial part of insect flight, it has attracted relatively little study. Here, we investigate, for the first time, the final moments of a honeybee's (Apis mellifera) landing manoeuvre. Using high-speed video recordings, we analyse the behaviour of bees as they approach and land on surfaces of various orientations. The bees enter a stable hover phase, immediately prior to touchdown. We have quantified behaviour during this hover phase and examined whether it changes as the tilt of the landing surface is varied from horizontal (floor), through sloped (uphill) and vertical (wall), to inverted (ceiling). The bees hover at a remarkably constant distance from the surface, irrespective of its tilt. Body inclination increases progressively as the tilt of the surface is increased, and is accompanied by an elevation of the antennae. The tight correlation between the tilt of the surface, and the orientation of the body and the antennae, indicates that the bee's visual system is capable of inferring the tilt of the surface, and pointing the antennae toward it. Touchdown is initiated by extending the appendage closest to the surface, namely, the hind legs when landing on horizontal or sloping surfaces, and the front legs or antennae when landing on vertical surfaces. Touchdown on inverted surfaces is most likely triggered by a mechanosensory signal from the antennae. Evidently, bees use a landing strategy that is flexibly tailored to the varying topography of the terrain. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
mechanoreception, vision, hover, flight, landing, honeybee, Apis mellifera, antennae
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
213
issue
2
pages
262 - 270
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000273041000014
  • scopus:75249104917
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.037465
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f97978c0-1051-40fc-b8dc-253d2e2d4dd9 (old id 1533835)
date added to LUP
2010-01-27 12:18:18
date last changed
2018-06-03 03:22:59
@article{f97978c0-1051-40fc-b8dc-253d2e2d4dd9,
  abstract     = {Although landing is a crucial part of insect flight, it has attracted relatively little study. Here, we investigate, for the first time, the final moments of a honeybee's (Apis mellifera) landing manoeuvre. Using high-speed video recordings, we analyse the behaviour of bees as they approach and land on surfaces of various orientations. The bees enter a stable hover phase, immediately prior to touchdown. We have quantified behaviour during this hover phase and examined whether it changes as the tilt of the landing surface is varied from horizontal (floor), through sloped (uphill) and vertical (wall), to inverted (ceiling). The bees hover at a remarkably constant distance from the surface, irrespective of its tilt. Body inclination increases progressively as the tilt of the surface is increased, and is accompanied by an elevation of the antennae. The tight correlation between the tilt of the surface, and the orientation of the body and the antennae, indicates that the bee's visual system is capable of inferring the tilt of the surface, and pointing the antennae toward it. Touchdown is initiated by extending the appendage closest to the surface, namely, the hind legs when landing on horizontal or sloping surfaces, and the front legs or antennae when landing on vertical surfaces. Touchdown on inverted surfaces is most likely triggered by a mechanosensory signal from the antennae. Evidently, bees use a landing strategy that is flexibly tailored to the varying topography of the terrain.},
  author       = {Evangelista, C. and Kraft, P. and Dacke, Marie and Reinhard, J. and Srinivasan, M. V.},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {mechanoreception,vision,hover,flight,landing,honeybee,Apis mellifera,antennae},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {262--270},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {The moment before touchdown: landing manoeuvres of the honeybee Apis mellifera},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.037465},
  volume       = {213},
  year         = {2010},
}