Taughannock Field Station

Site of the Shimoda Lab Study of Halictid Behavior

You have arrived at Taughannock Field Station where this new species of halictid has been discovered. You will now explore the field site and hopefully observe their cooperative behavior.

As you walk around the field, your coworker explains that you are looking for a meeting between two bees. During this meeting the bees will appear to exchange information about recently visited floral resources. This was determined in a previous set of experiments on their communication language which you can now understand. They have found that in following the bees after this meeting it appears as though sometimes the bees convey correctly the information about where the resources are, and other times they provide erroneous information. The question is when, if ever, should the bees provide good information.

Just then you observe two bees coming into contact with each other.

Watch the repeated interaction below to see how the bees interact.

You just witnessed mutual cooperation. By determining the location of the flowers that the bees visit after their meeting, it was apparent that the information that they had conveyed about the location of the flowers was reliable. Your coworker explains that the bees do not, however, always communicate the correct locations of the flowers.