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Mirror Image Pattern Matching By Bumble Bees

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image of Behaviour

Bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) were trained to discriminate between a rewarding and non-rewarding artificial flower that differed only in their configuration of four identical petals. On choice tests between 2 empty flowers, the bees chose the flower with the configuration of the rewarding flower over the mirror image, but the mirror image over a novel flower. This behaviour is the same as has been observed with honey bees and functional interpretations are considered. The problem of distinguishing between left-right pattern reversals and true mirror image transformations is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont. KIN 6N5, Canada


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