Upon her return from a foraging flight a bee might behave quite strangely: she throws her body from side to side moving wildly over the comb surface. Others attend this performance and – after a little while – show up at her feeding site. The so called “waggle dance” informs nestmates about the existence and the location of valuable ressources like food and water – learn more about the waggle dance. Honeybees are the only species in the insect world showing an abstract – we might call it symbolic – communication.
More than 60 years after the discovery of the meaning of the dance many questions remain unanswered. How do the follower bees decode the dance? Which stimuli sent out by the dancer carry information and which are actually used by the receivers of the message?
Therefor, the research groups of Prof. Dr. Menzel (Institute of Neurobiology) and Prof. Dr. Rojas (Institute of Computer Science) are studying the dance communication in Apis mellifera bees by means of a robotic honeybee, aka the Project RoboBee.