Visual constraints in foraging bumblebees: Flower size and color affect search time and flight behavior

@article{Spaethe2001VisualCI,
  title={Visual constraints in foraging bumblebees: Flower size and color affect search time and flight behavior},
  author={Johannes Spaethe and J{\"u}rgen Tautz and Lars Chittka},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  year={2001},
  volume={98},
  pages={3898 - 3903}
}
  • J. Spaethe, J. Tautz, L. Chittka
  • Published 20 March 2001
  • Biology
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
In optimal foraging theory, search time is a key variable defining the value of a prey type. But the sensory-perceptual processes that constrain the search for food have rarely been considered. Here we evaluate the flight behavior of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) searching for artificial flowers of various sizes and colors. When flowers were large, search times correlated well with the color contrast of the targets with their green foliage-type background, as predicted by a model of color… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Sensory Ecology of Foraging in Bumblebees

TLDR
The results show that understanding the behavioral ecology of foraging can substantially gain from knowledge about mechanisms of visual information processing, and that foraging speed may not only be limited by factors such as prey density, flight energetics and scramble competition.

Visual Search and Decision Making in Bees: Time, Speed, and Accuracy

TLDR
This work demonstrates both between-individual and within- individual speed-accuracy tradeoffs, whereby bees exhibit considerable behavioral flexibility in solving visual search tasks, and highlights the importance of visual information processing for understanding the behavioral ecology of foraging.

Multimodal cues provide redundant information for bumblebees when the stimulus is visually salient, but facilitate red target detection in a naturalistic background

TLDR
Of all the variables analysed, flower colour had the strongest effect on the foraging strategy of bumblebees, and training and the presence of odour helped bees to find inconspicuous flowers.

Flight Durations in Bumblebees Under Manipulation of Feeding Choices

TLDR
The results suggest that bees indeed save time though flower-constant foraging but that this time savings is a small (∼1 s/flower visit) under laboratory conditions, and appears only when switches between flower types are infrequent.

Background complexity affects colour preference in bumblebees

TLDR
The notion that the red of “hummingbird syndrome” flowers can function to reduce bee visits despite the ability of bees to detect red is supported and the need to consider context when drawing inferences about pollinator preferences from laboratory data is highlighted.

Specific color sensitivities of prey and predator explain camouflage in different visual systems

TLDR
This study is the first to identify which photoreceptors of both prey and predator are involved in camouflage, and suggests more research on bird predation and vision is needed to determine to which extent bird predators effectively constrain spider crypsis.

Signal or cue: the role of structural colors in flower pollination

TLDR
Ang Angle dependent colors produced by micro- and ultra-structures are classified as being a cue (a feature which has not evolved for communication), and there is no evidence supporting claims of these angle dependent colors having evolved as visual signal.

Signatures of a globally optimal searching strategy in the three-dimensional foraging flights of bumblebees

TLDR
This looping search pattern, in which flight step lengths are typically power-law distributed, provides a relatively simple yet highly efficient strategy for pollinators such as bees to find best quality resources in complex environments made of multiple ephemeral feeding sites with nutritionally variable rewards.

What matters in the associative learning of visual cues in foraging parasitoid wasps: colour or brightness?

TLDR
The results show that in the context of host foraging, chromatic cues are more reliable than brightness in achieving the associative learning process, and understanding the behavioural ecology of foraging should make use of the knowledge about the visual information used.

The impact of floral spot and ring markings on pollinator foraging dynamics

TLDR
It is concluded that petal marking, whether organised discretely in a spot or in a continuous ring around the centre of a flower, have a significant and complex influence on pollinator foraging dynamics.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 19 REFERENCES

On the Tradeoff Between the Mean and the Variance in Foraging: Effect of Spatial Distribution and Color Preference

An enclosed colony of bumblebees (Bombus pennsylvanicus) was restricted to foraging on two artificial flower types. The means and variances were adjusted in the two flower types in order to detect

Navigation without vision: bumblebee orientation in complete darkness

TLDR
It was found that bumblebees laid odour marks, suggesting a magnetic compass, and this finding provides a controlled system for dissecting possible non–visual components of navigation used in daylight, and allows us to isolate navigation mechanisms used in naturally dark situations, such as in the nest.

Do Bumblebees Forage Optimally, and Does It Matter?

Foraging behavior of bumblebees has been in the past analyzed from two major perspectives. On the one hand, behavioral mechanisms have been studied to learn more about the animal. On the other

Spontaneous flower constancy and learning in honey bees as a function of colour

TLDR
The onset of constancy for bees that had had no experience with the experimental apparatus is described and it is shown that spontaneous in honey bees, but it can be hidden by some experimental protocols designed to study learning.

Foraging costs in bumblebees: field conditions cause large individual differences

TLDR
It is concluded that estimates of energetic costs of free flight using laboratory data (time/activity/laboratory = TAL), an approach regularly used in tests of foraging models, might not be appropriate under many natural conditions.

Competition, Foraging Energetics, and the Cost of Sociality in Three Species of Bees

Competition among three species of bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus sonorous, and Xy- locopa ariZonensis) visiting Agate schottii was studied. Honeybees were found to predominate in the most productive

HONEY BEE FORAGING ECOLOGY: OPTIMAL DIET, MINIMAL UNCERTAINTY OR INDIVIDUAL CONSTANCY?

TLDR
Experiments using honey bees and artificial flower patches were designed to test three alternative foraging ecology models: optimal diet, minimal uncertainty, and individual constancy, which found each bee was constant to one colour, even though that behaviour often failed to maximize reward or minimize uncertainty.

Optimal Sets of Color Receptors and Color Opponent Systems for Coding of Natural Objects in Insect Vision

TLDR
It is shown that the set of spectral receptor types in flower visiting bees (λmax=340, 430 and 540 nm) is close to optimal for the discrimination of several sets of sympatric and simultaneously blooming flower colors, as well as for discrimination of green foliage, but not for fruit coloration.

Discrimination of coloured stimuli by honeybees: alternative use of achromatic and chromatic signals

TLDR
It is shown that bees learn the green-contrast difference between a trained and a non-rewarded alternative, and that bees use either chromatic or achromatic cues, depending on the visual angle subtended by the stimuli at the eye.

Evolutionarily stable foraging speeds in feeding scrambles: a model and an experimental test

TLDR
The results provide support for the model in a situation where payoffs are density dependent, but fit less well where they are density independent.