ABSTRACT: Upon leaving the nest for the first time, honeybees employ a tripartite orientation/exploration system to gain the requisite knowledge to return to their hive after foraging. Focal exploration comes first- the departing bee turns around to face the return target and oscillates in a lateral flight pattern of increasing amplitude and distance. Thereafter, for the peripheral exploration, the forward flying bee circles the return-goal area with expanding and alternating clockwise and counterclockwise arcs. After this two- part proximal exploration follows distal exploration, the bee flies straight towards her potential distal goal. For the return path, supported by the preceding exploratory learning, the return navigational performance is expected to reflect the three exploratory parts in reverse order. Previously only two performance parts have been experimentally identified: focal navigation and distal navigation. Here we discovered peripheral navigation as being distinct from focal and distal navigation. Like focal navigation, yet unlike distal navigation, peripheral navigation is invariably triggered by local place recognition. Whereas focal navigation (orientation) is close to unidirectional, peripheral navigation makes use of multiple goal-vector knowledge. We term the area in question the Peripheral Correction Area because within it peripheral navigation is triggered, which in turn is capable of correcting errors that accumulated during a preceding distal dead-reckoning based flight.
Journal of insect physiology 07/2012; 58(10):1289-98. · 2.24 Impact Factor