Bumblebee 007: Bees can spy on others' flower choices | Science News


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Bumblebee 007: Bees can spy on others' flower choices

11:46am, August 31, 2005

In a novel test of insect intel, researchers observed that bumblebees, which had spied on a worker bee from another colony feasting on unusual flowers, later tended to visit flowers of the same color.

This talent amounts to social learning, which is picking up a new behavior from observations of another animal, say the test's designers, Bradley D. Worden and Daniel R. Papaj of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

It's "an elegant experiment," comments Andrew Whiten of the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. "[It's] the best evidence I know of for observational learning in insects," he says. To date, research in such learning has focused on vertebra

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