Research shows bees might create cognitive maps

June 3, 2014 by Marcia Malory report
Similar flight speed and accuracy of bees with (red) and without (blue) clock-shifting. Credit: James F. Cheeseman

( —How do bees find their way home? Until now, scientists thought bees navigated by calculating their position relative to that of the sun. Randolf Menzel of the Free University of Berlin and colleagues tested this hypothesis by disrupting bees' circadian clocks. They found bees were able to navigate successfully, despite being unable to use the sun as an aid, suggesting that bees create cognitive maps. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To get to the store and back without getting lost, you use a cognitive map. Mammals, and possibly all vertebrates, create cognitive maps, which they update constantly, by remembering landmarks and storing information about their locations in their brains. A cognitive map allows you to point toward your home, even when you're in a windowless room.

Creating a cognitive map is a complex mental task. Scientists believe we form cognitive maps in a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. Bees have tiny brains and nothing resembling a hippocampus. Therefore, scientists thought they must not use cognitive maps and depend on the to guide them instead.

To test this belief, Menzel's team tried tampering with bees' sense of time, so the bees wouldn't be able to use the sun to calculate their position. The researchers anesthetized a group of bees, leaving them unconscious for six hours. This meant when the bees awoke, they didn't know what time it was and the sun appeared to be in the wrong position in the sky.

The researchers then released the bees in an unfamiliar field and radar tracked them to see if they would be able to find their way back to the hive. If the bees relied solely on the sun to navigate, they would be lost. The bees did start out by flying in the wrong direction, but they soon turned around, getting back to the hive as quickly as a control group of bees the team hadn't anesthetized.

This meant the bees used something other than the sun to get them home. The researchers think this is probably a . They believe that in addition to using the sun as a compass, bees create a mental map of the terrain they fly over by looking for landmarks, such as rows of bushes.

Menzel and his team say scientists studying the mammalian brain should bear in mind that might be able to create complex mental maps despite having brains many times smaller than the hippocampus of a rat.

Explore further: Bees dance the light fantastic

More information: Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map, James F. Cheeseman, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408039111

Mammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass–referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees.

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5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
As with the newest research on homing pigeons, science has discovered they use infrasound, such as ocean wave movement, etc.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2014
The conserved molecular mechanisms of ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction link the innate abilities of insects to mammals via nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled amino acid substitutions that differentiate their cell types and result in morphological and behavioral phenotypes.

We detailed cause and effect in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior http://www.hawaii...ion.html

Elekonich with Robinson http://www.ncbi.n...10980296 and then with Roberts, http://www.ncbi.n...15925525 extended the model of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behaviors to insects and specifically to the honeybee.

If not for the unending misrepresenatations of cause and effect by evolutionary theorists, all serious scientists would now be fully aware of what's been learned about molecular epigenetics in the past 50 years.
not rated yet Jun 03, 2014
katesisco... stranger than fiction =)
5 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2014
I'm amazed by bees these days. I really didn't think they were much more than other social insects, until I came across Graziano's theory of consciousness. The only one to predict both the soft and hard problem, his biologically derived "attention on attention" (i.e. being 'aware' of where one focus attention, 'awareness') has a fairly good analogy in how bees monitor bee dances for directionality during, apperently from here, mapping.

That makes some crackpot scifi ideas right.

Speaking of crackpots, the troll that can't stop pestering science sites with his comments inserting everywhere the term "pheromone" and attacking the accepted basis of biology which is evolution is here again. I've started to report him, let's see if it works, and I hope everyone interested in actual science promoted on science sites pitch in.
5 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2014
Oh, I forgot references for the report.


"Biologists agree that descent with modification is one of the most reliably established facts in science.[8]" [ http://en.wikiped...volution ]

Pheromones not controlling "amino acid substitutions":

"A pheromone (from Greek φέρω phero "to bear" and hormone, from Greek ὁρμή "impetus") is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species."

[ http://en.wikiped...eromones ]

"In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence; it also can be used to describe the study of stable, long-term alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell that are not necessarily heritable."

[ http://en.wikiped...genetics ]

So epigenetics of pheromone-triggered social response does not have the ability to "control" (affect) amino acid substitutions (sequence).
3 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2014
I just hope my oldest granddaughter does not read this. She's paranoid about bees enough already.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014

By editing out content from my posts and now adding his own content to them, it is apparent that Feierman will continue to lead others to believe in the pseudoscientific nonsense of population geneticists. Watch as he tries to reinvent the definitions used by the population geneticists who invented neo-Darwinism.

How can anyone teach assumptions without knowing the difference between an SNV, SNP, mutation, and an ecological adaptation?

Now, Feierman inserts [mutation generated allelic, added by jrf] into the phrase "pre-existing genetic variation" to make it seem that nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations in other species are actually due to mutation generated differences in alleles.

If only the honeybee model organism is considered, it should be clear that ecological variation results in differences in alleles and the differences in alleles are controlled by pheromones.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
"[W]hat Haldane, Fisher, Sewell Wright, Hardy, Weinberg et al. did was invent.... The anglophone tradition was taught. I was taught, and so were my contemporaries, and so were the younger scientists. Evolution was defined as "changes in gene frequencies in natural populations." The accumulation of genetic mutations was touted to be enough to change one species to another.... No, it wasn't dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact." http://www.huffin...211.html

Torbjorn_Larsson_OM is more like Jay R. Feierman than anyone else I have encountered. Both seem to want others to believe in pseudoscientific nonsense, so they continue to cite sources that also believe in it. Those sources are easy to find since most people were taught to believe in pseudoscientific nonsense.

http://bfg.oxford...050.long (for comparison)
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
See also my most recent published works and those that began with book publication in 1995.

Kohl, J.V. (2013) Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model. Socioaffective Neuroscience Psychology, 3: 20553.

Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience Psychology, 2: 17338. http://www.ncbi.n...24693349

Serious scientists already know that copy number variation is nutrient-dependent. Social scientists who want others to believe that copy number variation is not nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man need only explain how mutations and natural selection result in the biological diversity manifested in the morphological and behavioral phenotypes that literally scream ECOLOGICAL ADAPTATION to those who cannot see it or who think its a manifestation of mutations.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
So epigenetics of pheromone-triggered social response does not have the ability to "control" (affect) amino acid substitutions (sequence).

Comments like that exemplify the ignorance of those who make them after denigrating my works, which detail how ecological variation in nutrient availability links the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of species from microbes to man via the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction.

Those who cannot understand anything more than the bits and pieces of Wiki-wisdom should not try to comment intelligently or tout what "biologists" supposedly believe.

"...stickleback evolution is accelerated by the use of pre-existing genetic variation, instead of waiting for new, random mutations to arise, Wray explains." -- serious scientists know that!
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
"Both intercellular signaling and epigenetic mechanisms regulate embryonic development, but it is unclear how they are integrated to establish and maintain lineage-specific gene expression programs." (2010) http://stke.scien...127/ra48

"Environmental factors, such as nutrients, light, and pheromones, can induce fungi, such as Aspergillus nidulans, to switch from vegetative growth to reproduction." http://www.ncbi.n...24871947

"These results identify a mechanism whereby controlled localization of methyltransferases influences whether Aspergillus reproduces sexually or asexually and coordinates the developmental program with secondary metabolism." http://stke.scien...28/ec152

How can the idiot minions of biology teachers take everything that's known about the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled differentiation of cell types and attribute it to mutations and natural selection?
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
Everything you have cited so far concerns EPIGENETICS, not changes to the DNA sequence. They're not the same thing.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jun 04, 2014
explain how mutations and natural selection result in the biological
and again I refer you to the expert, Lenski, which you said refuted mutations with his black queen paper... which you obviously didn't read and didn't understand. see Lenski here http://myxo.css.m...dex.html
remember that conversation when I asked
DOES your model make any changes to the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal genetic element?
This is a yes or no answer
THIS is the DEFINITION of Mutation!!!! to which you answered
--Thanks for asking
so we KNOW that your model creates mutations... and now you are here arguing that mutations are not possible and your "model" is the answer, which means that either you are severely mentally incapacitated or being blatantly stupid.

or likely both


I second that!

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