Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bumble Bees Can Estimate Time Intervals

Date:
August 25, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
In a finding that broadens our understanding of time perception in the animal kingdom, researchers have discovered that an insect pollinator, the bumble bee, can estimate the duration of time intervals. Although many insects show daily and annual rhythms of behavior, the more sophisticated ability to estimate the duration of shorter time intervals had previously been known only in humans and other vertebrates.

In a finding that broadens our understanding of time perception in the animal kingdom, researchers have discovered that an insect pollinator, the bumble bee, can estimate the duration of time intervals. Although many insects show daily and annual rhythms of behavior, the more sophisticated ability to estimate the duration of shorter time intervals had previously been known only in humans and other vertebrates.

The findings are reported by Michael Boisvert and David Sherry of the University of Western Ontario and appear in the August 22nd issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

Bees and other insects make a variety of decisions that appear to require the ability to estimate elapsed durations. Insect pollinators feed on floral nectar that depletes and renews with the passage of time, and insect communication and navigation may also require the ability to estimate the duration of time intervals.

In the new work, the researchers investigated bumble bees' ability to time the interval between successive nectar rewards. Using a specially designed chamber in which bumble bees extended their proboscis to obtain sucrose rewards, the researchers observed that bees adjusted the timing of proboscis extensions so that most were made near the end of the programmed interval between rewards. When nectar was delivered after either of two different intervals, bees could often time both intervals simultaneously. This research shows that the biological foundations of time perception may be found in animals with relatively simple neural systems.

The researchers include Michael J. Boisvert and David F. Sherry of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. This research is part of a doctoral dissertation by M.J.B. and was supported by a grant from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada to D.F.S.

Boisvert et al.: "Interval Timing by an Invertebrate, the Bumble Bee Bombus impatiens." Publishing in Current Biology 16, 1636--1640, August 22, 2006 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2006.06.064 www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Bumble Bees Can Estimate Time Intervals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060825103730.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, August 25). Bumble Bees Can Estimate Time Intervals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060825103730.htm
Cell Press. "Bumble Bees Can Estimate Time Intervals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060825103730.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins