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Honey Bee Inhibitory Signaling Is Tuned to Threat Severity and Can Act as a Colony Alarm Signal

Fig 4

Effect of stop signals (SS) elicited by unknown natural causes, the small hornet, and the large hornet upon waggle dancing (dances performed by 51, 58, and 51 different bees from three colonies; the number of stop signals is shown in each plot).

The effect of naturally elicited stop signals was observed with bees waggle dancing for natural food sources. All other dances were from bees trained to a feeder, none of which directly experienced the predator. If stop signals had no effect upon waggle dancing, they would be uniformly distributed (shown by a dashed line). However, all distributions are significantly different from a uniform distribution (p << 0.00001). As the efficacy of the inhibitory signal increases, the distributions should become more negatively skewed. A stop signal that always immediately stops waggle dancing would have only a single bar at the tenth decile. Stop signals produced by foragers attacked by the large hornet (SS large hornet forager) were significantly more inhibitory (p << 0.00001) than those elicited by the small hornet (SS small hornet forager).

Fig 4