Margaret J. Couvillon

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Karl von Frisch published “Die Tänze der Bienen” in 1946, which demonstrated that successful honey bee foragers perform a stereotyped dance to communicate the location of valuable resources to her nestmates. This discovery proved to be the starting point of many areas of investigation. Here I review some recent advancement in our understanding of the waggle(More)
Even as demand for their services increases, honey bees (Apis mellifera) and other pollinating insects continue to decline in Europe and North America. Honey bees face many challenges, including an issue generally affecting wildlife: landscape changes have reduced flower-rich areas. One way to help is therefore to supplement with flowers, but when would(More)
In recognition, discriminators use sensory information to make decisions. For example, honeybee (Apis mellifera) entrance guards discriminate between nest-mates and intruders by comparing their odours with a template of the colony odour. Comb wax plays a major role in honeybee recognition. We measured the rejection rates of nest-mate and non-nest-mate(More)
Worker insects altruistically sacrifice their own reproduction to rear nondescendant kin. This sacrifice reaches its most spectacular level in suicidal colony defense. Suicidal defense, such as when the sting of a honeybee worker embeds in a predator and then breaks off, is normally a facultative response. Here we describe the first example of preemptive(More)
Does cognitive ability always correlate with a positive fitness consequence? Previous research in both vertebrates and invertebrates provides mixed results. Here, we compare the learning and memory abilities of Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata hybrid) and European honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica). The range of the Africanized honeybee(More)
In group-level recognition, discriminators use sensory information to distinguish group members and non-members. For example, entrance guards in eusocial insect colonies discriminate nestmates from intruders by comparing their odour with a template of the colony odour. Despite being a species-rich group of eusocial bees closely related to the honey bees,(More)
Noise is universal in information transfer. In animal communication, this presents a challenge not only for intended signal receivers, but also to biologists studying the system. In honey bees, a forager communicates to nestmates the location of an important resource via the waggle dance. This vibrational signal is composed of repeating units (waggle runs)(More)
The presence of noise in a communication system may be adaptive or may reflect unavoidable constraints. One communication system where these alternatives are debated is the honeybee (Apis mellifera) waggle dance. Successful foragers communicate resource locations to nest-mates by a dance comprising repeated units (waggle runs), which repetitively transmit(More)
Social insects display task-related division of labour. In some species, division of labour is related to differences in body size, and worker caste members display morphological adaptations suited for particular tasks. Bumble-bee workers (Bombus spp.) can vary in mass by eight- to tenfold within a single colony, which previous work has linked to division(More)
Correlations between brain or brain component size and behavioral measures are frequently studied by comparing different animal species, which sometimes introduces variables that complicate interpretation in terms of brain function. Here, we have analyzed the brain composition of honey bees (Apis mellifera) that have been individually tested in an olfactory(More)