Bumblebees can teach each other how to solve problems
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According to new research by Alice Dorothy Bridges and colleagues at Queen Mary University of London, bumblebees can learn to solve a puzzle by observing how other bees solve it.
The results of the study were published in PLOS Biology. According to them, furry insects have demonstrated exceptional abilities for both individual and social learning. This is in contrast to the behavior of other social insects, which is considered innate rather than acquired.
This study is the first of its kind, which studies the distribution of behavioral problem solving in bees.
“These results are in bumblebees, tiny-brained invertebrates, — said Bridges, — echo those previously obtained from similar experiments on primates and birds, which were used to demonstrate the ability of these species to culture.
The researchers used the species Bombus terrestris as their model and created a puzzle with two options for bees whose purpose was to open the box.
Successful box-opening behaviors spread through colonies provided with a demonstrator bee trained to perform one of two possible behaviors to open the box. in particular, the bumblebees adopted the behavior that their demonstrator showed them. Even after a second viable option was found, the bees preferred the method they were taught.
In the control groups, where there were no demonstrators , some bumblebees spontaneously opened boxes, but were generally less efficient than those trained.
“This suggests that that social learning is critical to properly opening the drawer, — researchers write.
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