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Task allocation and site fidelity jointly influence foraging regulation in honeybee colonies

Description

Variation in behaviour among group members often impacts collective outcomes. Individuals may vary both in the task that they perform and in the persistence with which they perform each task.

Variation in behaviour among group members often impacts collective outcomes. Individuals may vary both in the task that they perform and in the persistence with which they perform each task. Although both the distribution of individuals among tasks and differences among individuals in behavioural persistence can each impact collective behaviour, we do not know if and how they jointly affect collective outcomes. Here, we use a detailed computational model to examine the joint impact of colony-level distribution among tasks and behavioural persistence of individuals, specifically their fidelity to particular resource sites, on the collective trade-off between exploring for new resources and exploiting familiar ones. We developed an agent-based model of foraging honeybees, parametrized by data from five colonies, in which we simulated scouts, who search the environment for new resources, and individuals who are recruited by the scouts to the newly found resources, i.e. recruits. We varied the persistence of returning to a particular food source of both scouts and recruits and found that, for each value of persistence, there is a different optimal ratio of scouts to recruits that maximizes resource collection by the colony. Furthermore, changes to the persistence of scouts induced opposite effects from changes to the persistence of recruits on the collective foraging of the colony. The proportion of scouts that resulted in the most resources collected by the colony decreased as the persistence of recruits increased. However, this optimal proportion of scouts increased as the persistence of scouts increased. Thus, behavioural persistence and task participation can interact to impact a colony's collective behaviour in orthogonal directions. Our work provides new insights and generates new hypotheses into how variations in behaviour at both the individual and colony levels jointly impact the trade-off between exploring for new resources and exploiting familiar ones.

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Date Created
  • 2017-08-30

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Ecdysone Effect on Hypopharyngeal Glands and Ovarioles in Adult Worker Bees (Apis mellifera)

Description

Division of labor is a hallmark for social insects and is closely related to honey bee morphology and physiology. Vitellogenin (Vg), a precursor protein in insect egg yolk, has several

Division of labor is a hallmark for social insects and is closely related to honey bee morphology and physiology. Vitellogenin (Vg), a precursor protein in insect egg yolk, has several known functions apart from serving as a nutrient source for developing eggs. Vg is a component in the royal jelly produced in the hypopharyngeal glands (HPG) of worker bees which is used to feed both the developing brood and the queen. The HPG is closely associated with divisions of labor as the peak in its development corresponds with the nursing behavior. Independent of the connection between Vg and the HPG, Vg has been seen to play a fundamental role in divisions of labor by affecting worker gustatory responses, age of onset of foraging, and foraging preferences. Similar to Vg, the number of ovarioles in worker ovaries is also associated with division of labor as bees with more ovarioles tend to finish tasks in the hive and become foragers faster. This experiment aims to connect HPGs, ovaries, and Vg by proposing a link between them in the form of ecdysone (20E). 20E is a hormone produced by the ovaries and is linked to ovary development and Vg by tyramine titers. By treating young emerged bees with ecdysone and measuring HPG and ovary development over a trial period, this experiment seeks to determine whether 20E affects division of labor through Vg. We found that though the stress of injection caused a significant decrease in development of both the ovaries and HPG, there was no discernable effect of 20E on either of these organs.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12