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dc.contributor.authorMorgan, Tanen_UK
dc.contributor.authorWhitehorn, Penelope Ren_UK
dc.contributor.authorLye, Gillianen_UK
dc.contributor.authorVallejo-Marin, Marioen_UK
dc.description.abstractBumblebees demonstrate an extensive capacity for learning complex motor skills to maximise exploitation of floral rewards. This ability is well studied in nectar collection but its role in pollen foraging is less well understood. Floral sonication is used by bees to extract pollen from some plant species with anthers which must be vibrated (buzzed) to release pollen. Pollen removal is determined by sonication characteristics including frequency and amplitude, and thus the ability to optimise sonication should allow bees to maximise the pollen collection. We investigated the ability of the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) to modify the frequency and amplitude of their buzzes with increasing experience manipulating flowers of the buzz-pollinated plantSolanum rostratum. We analysed flight and feeding vibrations generated by naïve workers across feeding bouts. Feeding buzzes were of a higher frequency and a lower amplitude than flight buzzes. Both flight and feeding buzzes had reduced amplitudes with increasing number of foraging trips. However, the frequency of their feeding buzzes was reduced significantly more than their flight buzzes as bumblebee workers gained experience manipulating flowers. These results suggest that bumblebees are able to modify the characteristics of their buzzes with experience manipulating buzz-pollinated flowers. We discuss our findings in the context of bumblebee learning, and the current understanding of the optimal sonication characteristics for releasing pollen in buzz-pollinated species. Our results present a tantalising insight into the potential role of learning in floral sonication, paving the way for future research in this area.en_UK
dc.relationMorgan T, Whitehorn PR, Lye G & Vallejo-Marin M (2016) Floral sonication is an innate behaviour in bumblebees that can be fine-tuned with experience in manipulating flowers. Journal of Insect Behavior, 29 (2), pp. 233-241.
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2016 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.en_UK
dc.subjectBombus terrestrisen_UK
dc.subjectbuzz pollinationen_UK
dc.subjectpollen foragingen_UK
dc.titleFloral sonication is an innate behaviour in bumblebees that can be fine-tuned with experience in manipulating flowersen_UK
dc.typeJournal Articleen_UK
dc.citation.jtitleJournal of Insect Behavioren_UK
dc.type.statusVoR - Version of Recorden_UK
dc.contributor.affiliationUniversity of Stirlingen_UK
dc.contributor.affiliationBiological and Environmental Sciencesen_UK
dc.contributor.affiliationBiological and Environmental Sciencesen_UK
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles

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