Self-assemblage formation in a social insect: the protective curtain of a honey bee swarm View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2004-11

AUTHORS

S. M. Cully, T. D. Seeley

ABSTRACT

Summary.This paper considers a little-studied topic in the biology of social insects: the formation of self-assemblages. It focuses on the mechanisms whereby the outermost workers in a bivouacked swarm of honey bees, when rained upon, form a water repellent curtain of bees over the swarm cluster. Specifically, we analyzed how the worker bees in the mantle of a swarm cluster adjust their body orientation, wing spread, and inter-individual spacing to form a protective curtain when wetted. When warm and dry, the mantle bees orient their bodies weakly with respect to gravity, do not tuck their heads under adjacent bees, have high variability in wing spread, and space themselves widely. In contrast, when warm and wet, the mantle bees orient uniformly with head upward, tuck their heads beneath the abdomens of bees above, hold their wings together, and press tightly together. This produces a surface that closely resembles a tiled roof. When cool and dry, the mantle bees generally orient their bodies with head upward, press their heads into the interior of the cluster, hold their wings wide apart, and draw close together. We also examined the age distribution of the mantle bees. Older bees are more likely than younger bees to be found in the mantle of a swarm, perhaps because younger bees are more important than older bees to colony survival after swarming and so occupy a more sheltered position in a swarm. Finally, we tested whether swarm clusters that have formed a protective curtain shed water more effectively than ones that have not formed a curtain. We found that this is the case. More... »

PAGES

317-324

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00040-004-0743-3

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00040-004-0743-3

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1011332007


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