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研究发现蜜蜂可利用自身产生的电场来进行交流

研究发现蜜蜂可利用自身产生的电场来进行交流

除了人们熟知的“8字舞”或“圆圈舞”之外,作为群居昆虫的蜜蜂彼此之间还靠什么交流?

日前,德国柏林自由大学等机构的一项研究显示,蜜蜂还可以利用电场形成独特的“通讯网络”来传递信息。相关研究刊登在近期出版的《皇家学会学报B》(Proceedings of the Royal Society B)上。

研究人员表示,蜜蜂在活动时,翅膀等部位由于和空气摩擦会带上电荷,而蜜蜂体表有一层蜡质起到绝缘层的作用,使这些累积的电荷不易消失,于是蜜蜂的身体上就形成了一个电场。

实验显示,蜜蜂的触角能够感受到这种电场,如果用一根带电小棒模拟电场,蜜蜂的触角靠近电场时会弯曲。其他实验还显示,蜜蜂可以认知与电场相应的信息,比如在人工假花中放入糖水并同时使其拥有特殊电场,蜜蜂很快就能认识到其间关系,通过探测电场来辨认那些确有糖水的假花。

研究人员因此认为,蜜蜂可以通过感知彼此身体上电场的特征来进行交流。与我们用电话交谈相比,这也可以算是另一种形式的“打电话”。

蜜蜂会“打电话”有助解释尚不完全清楚的蜜蜂“8字舞”之谜。蜜蜂白天在蜂巢外跳“8字舞”传递信息还好理解,但在黑暗拥挤的蜂巢内部,这样的舞如何被其他蜜蜂感知还是未解之谜,研究人员此前提出了身体接触、感知气味甚至震动蜂巢的模式等诸多解释,本次研究则显示,“打电话”也是一种可能的方式。

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Science:植物用电场信号和蜜蜂“交流”

大黄蜂能够找到并解读那些由花朵所发射出来的微弱电子讯号。

Science:花与熊蜂之间的火花飞舞

花的不可见的电场可作为额外的花信号,从而帮助熊蜂分辨花朵并记住这些花的位置。

了解更多:

Reception and learning of electric fields in bees

Proc. R. Soc. B 22 May 2013 | doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0528

Honeybees, like other insects, accumulate electric charge in flight, and when their body parts are moved or rubbed together. We report that bees emit constant and modulated electric fields when flying, landing, walking and during the waggle dance. The electric fields emitted by dancing bees consist of low- and high-frequency components. Both components induce passive antennal movements in stationary bees according to Coulomb's law. Bees learn both the constant and the modulated electric field components in the context of appetitive proboscis extension response conditioning. Using this paradigm, we identify mechanoreceptors in both joints of the antennae as sensors. Other mechanoreceptors on the bee body are potentially involved but are less sensitive. Using laser vibrometry, we show that the electrically charged flagellum is moved by constant and modulated electric fields and more strongly so if sound and electric fields interact. Recordings from axons of the Johnston organ document its sensitivity to electric field stimuli. Our analyses identify electric fields emanating from the surface charge of bees as stimuli for mechanoreceptors, and as biologically relevant stimuli, which may play a role in social communication.

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