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Karl von Frisch
His work centered on investigations of the sensory perceptions of the honey bee and he was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance. His theory, described in his book Aus dem Leben der Bienen translated into English as The Dancing Bees , was disputed by other scientists and greeted with skepticism at the time. Only much later was it shown to be an accurate theoretical analysis. Karl von Frisch was the son of the surgeon and urologist Anton von Frisch — , by his marriage to Marie Exner.
Karl was the youngest of four sons, all of whom became university professors. Von Frisch was of partial Jewish heritage. Karl studied in Vienna under Hans Leo Przibram and in Munich under Richard von Hertwig , initially in the field of medicine, but later turned to the natural sciences. He received his doctorate in and in the same year started work as an assistant in the zoology department of the University of Munich.
In he became a lecturer in zoology and comparative anatomy there; and in was promoted to a professorship. His research on honeybees was continued by his student Ingeborg Beling.
In he went to Rostock University as a professor of zoology and director of an institute. In he accepted the offer of a chair at Breslau University , returning in to Munich University, where he became the head of the institute of zoology.
Von Frisch attracted negative attention from the Nazi regime, among other things  for employing Jewish assistants, including many women, and for practicing "Jewish science". Eventually Frisch was forced into retirement, but the decision was reversed because of his research on nosema infections in bees.
The institute of zoology was destroyed in the Second World War , and in Frisch went to work at the University of Graz , remaining there until , when he returned to the reopened Munich institute. He retired in but continued his research. Their son, Otto von Frisch, was director of the Brunswick natural history museum between and Frisch studied aspects of animal behaviour , including animal navigation , in the Carniolan honey bee [ citation needed ] Apis mellifera carnica , a subspecies of the European honey bee.
Frisch discovered that bees can distinguish various blossoming plants by their scent, and that each bee is "flower constant". He thought it possible that a bee's spatial sense of smell arises from the firm coupling of its olfactory sense with its tactile sense.
Frisch was the second to demonstrate that honey bees had color vision , the first being Charles Henry Turner which he accomplished by using classical conditioning. He then set the colored card in the middle of a set of gray-toned cards.
If the bees see the colored card as a shade of gray, then they will confuse the blue card with at least one of the gray-toned cards; bees arriving to feed will visit more than one card in the array. On the other hand, if they have color vision, then the bees visit only the blue card, as it is visually distinct from the other cards. For that reason bees cannot distinguish red from black colorless , but they can distinguish the colors white, yellow, blue and violet.
Color pigments which reflect UV radiation expand the spectrum of colors which can be differentiated. For example, several blossoms which may appear to humans to be of the same yellow color will appear to bees as having different colors multicolored patterns because of their different proportions of ultraviolet.
Frisch's investigation of a bee's powers of orientation were significant. He discovered that bees can recognize the desired compass direction in three different ways: by the sun, by the polarization pattern of the blue sky, and by the earth's magnetic field, whereby the sun is used as the main compass, with the alternatives reserved for the conditions arising under cloudy skies or within a dark beehive.
Light scattered in a blue sky forms a characteristic pattern of partially polarized light which is dependent on the position of the sun and invisible to human eyes. With a UV receptor in each of the lens units of a compound eye, and a UV filter oriented differently in each of these units, a bee is able to detect this polarization pattern.
A small piece of blue sky is enough for a bee to recognize the pattern changes occurring over the course of a day. This provides not only directional but also temporal information.
Frisch proved that variations in the position of the sun over the course of a day provided bees with an orientation tool. They use this capability to obtain information about the progression of the day deep inside a dark beehive comparable to what is known from the position of the sun. This makes it possible for the bees to convey always up-to-date directional information during their waggle dance, without having to make a comparison with the sun during long dance phases.
This provides them not only with alternative directional information, but also with additional temporal information. Bees have an internal clock with three different synchronization or timekeeping mechanisms. If a bee knows the direction to a feeding place found during a morning excursion, it can also find the same location, as well as the precise time at which this source provides food, in the afternoon, based on the position of the sun.
Based on the magnetic field, the alignment of the plane of a honeycomb under construction e. By experiment, even deformed combs bent into a circle can be produced. The vertical alignment of the honeycomb is attributed by Frisch to the ability of bees to identify what is vertical with the help of their head used as a pendulum together with a ring of sensory cells in the neck.
Knowledge about feeding places can be relayed from bee to bee. The means of communication is a special dance of which there are two forms:. The " round dance " provides the information that there is a feeding place in the vicinity of the beehive at a distance between 50 and meters, without the particular direction being given. By means of close contact among the bees it also supplies information about the type of food blossom scent.
The foraging bee On the part of the comb where she is sitting she starts whirling around in a narrow circle, constantly changing her direction, turning now right, now left, dancing clockwise and anti-clockwise, in quick succession, describing between one and two circles in each direction.
This dance is performed among the thickest bustle of the hive. What makes it so particularly striking and attractive is the way it infects the surrounding bees; those sitting next to the dancer start tripping after her, always trying to keep their outstretched feelers on close contact with the tip of her abdomen.
They take part in each of her manoeuvrings so that the dancer herself, in her mad wheeling movements, appears to carry behind her a perpetual comet's tail of bees. The " waggle dance " is used to relay information about more distant food sources.
In order to do this, the dancing bee moves forward a certain distance on the vertically hanging honeycomb in the hive, then traces a half circle to return to her starting point, whereupon the dance begins again. On the straight stretch, the bee "waggles" with her posterior. The direction of the straight stretch contains the information about the direction of the food source, the angle between the straight stretch and the vertical being precisely the angle which the direction of flight has to the position of the sun.
The distance to the food source is relayed by the time taken to traverse the straight stretch, one second indicating a distance of approximately one kilometer so the speed of the dance is inversely related to the actual distance.
The other bees take in the information by keeping in close contact with the dancing bee and reconstructing its movements. They also receive information via their sense of smell about what is to be found at the food source type of food, pollen, propolis , water as well as its specific characteristics.
The orientation functions so well that the bees can find a food source with the help of the waggle dance even if there are hindrances they must detour around like an intervening mountain. As to a sense of hearing, Frisch could not identify this perceptive faculty, but it was assumed that vibrations could be sensed and used for communication during the waggle dance.
Confirmation was later provided by Dr. The linguistic findings described above were based on Frisch's work primarily with the Carnica variety of bees.
Investigations with other varieties led to the discovery that language elements were variety-specific, so that how distance and direction information is relayed varies greatly. Frisch's honey bee work included the study of the pheromones that are emitted by the queen bee and her daughters, which maintain the hive's very complex social order. Outside the hive, the pheromones cause the male bees, or drones , to become attracted to a queen and mate with her. Inside the hive, the drones are not affected by the odor.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Karl von Frisch. Vienna , Austria-Hungary. Munich , West Germany. There is no equivalent female form. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. Signals and flexibility in the dance communication of honeybees". Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Bibcode : Natur. Retrieved Erinnerungun eines Biologen Memories of a Biologist.
Berlin: Springer. Biologists under Hitler: Expulsion, Careers, Research. Karl von Frisch was the first to demonstrate in behavioral experiments of this kind that bees possess a true color sense. He demonstrated that honeybees are able to distinguish a blue-colored card-board from a series of cardboards which appeared grey to the human eye.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 21 July Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Hitchings J. Krebs Richard J.
Wieschaus Peter C. Zinkernagel Stanley B. Prusiner Robert F. Szostak Robert G. Young James P. Patrick White Australia. Wassily Leontief United States. Nobel Prize recipients 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Animal cognition Animal communication Animal consciousness Animal culture Animal sexual behaviour Animal welfare science Anthrozoology Bee learning and communication Behavioural ecology Behavioural genetics Cognitive ethology Comparative psychology Emotion in animals Evolutionary neuroscience Human ethology Instinct Learning Neuroethology Pain in animals Sociobiology Tool use by animals Zoosemiotics Zoomusicology.
Wilson Solly Zuckerman. Evolution of eusociality Presociality Social insects Gamergate Group selection Haplodiploidy Identity in social insects Kin recognition Kin selection Sexual selection in social insects Thelytoky Worker policing.
Dance Language of the Honey Bee
Honey bees Apis sp. We review recent theoretical and empirical research into the ecological circumstances that make dance communication beneficial in present day environments. The dances of extant honey bee species differ in important ways, and phylogenetic studies suggest an increase in dance complexity over time: species with the least complex dance were the first to appear and species with the most complex dance are the most derived. We review the fossil record of honey bees and speculate about the time and context foraging vs. The most parsimonious scenario assumes it evolved in a sub-tropical to temperate climate with patchy vegetation, somewhere in Eurasia. In , the Austrian scientist Karl von Frisch was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research on the honey bee waggle dance Von Frisch, He recognized how this unique form of communication allowed bees to share information on the location of food sources with nest-mates.
The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees
Social behavior in bees has a number of advantages. One of the most important of these is the ability to quickly mobilize a large number of foragers to gather floral resources that may only be available for a short period of time. The ability to communicate location with such precision is one of the most interesting behaviors of a very interesting insect.
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