The dynamics of social learning in an insect model, the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

@article{Leadbeater2007TheDO,
  title={The dynamics of social learning in an insect model, the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)},
  author={Ellouise Leadbeater and Lars Chittka},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
  year={2007},
  volume={61},
  pages={1789-1796}
}
Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) are attracted to those particular inflorescences where other bees are already foraging, a process known as local enhancement. Here, we use a quantitative analysis of learning in a foraging task to illustrate that this attraction can lead bees to learn more quickly which flower species are rewarding if they forage in the company of experienced conspecifics. This effect can also be elicited by model bees, rather than live demonstrators. We also show that local… 
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Bumble Bees (Bombus)
  • D. Goulson
  • Environmental Science
    Encyclopedia of Social Insects
  • 2021
The sight and sound of bumble bees buzzing from flower to flower is a treasured feature of our gardens, parks, and meadows through the northern spring and summer. Comprising about 250 species
Foraging bumblebees use social cues more when the task is difficult
TLDR
Foraging bumblebees are able to use social and personal information to optimize foraging decisions in a flexible way and prioritized social over personal information when flower discrimination was difficult and therefore the probability of making errors was higher.
Foraging bumblebees do not rate social information above personal experience
TLDR
There is no evidence that social information is particularly important when personal information fails to produce rewards (a “copy when established behaviour is unproductive” strategy), and bees used social information specifically to complement personal information.
Conspecific and Heterospecific Information Use in Bumblebees
TLDR
The findings demonstrate that social learning is not a unique process limited to conspecifics and that through associative learning, interspecifically sourced information can be just as valuable as that provided by conspecial individuals.
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