A honeybee colony led by a promiscuous queen does better than one led by a faithful queen: the colony forages more, stores more food and grows faster. Heather Mattila and her colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, think this happens because genetically diverse colonies dance more....Honeybees 'waggle dance' to tell each other where to fly to find food. Mattila's team compared colonies in which the queen always bred with the same male to colonies ruled by a queen that had been inseminated by 15 drones. On average, worker bees from the latter category performed 36% more dances daily, kept waggling for 62% longer and communicated about food discoveries farther from the nest than did workers from single-father colonies.
Friday, February 01, 2008
The fruits of promiscuity...more dancing and food
From the research highlights section of the Jan. 24 issue of Nature, summarizing work by Matilla et al: