Sunday, October 26, 2008

Honey Bees Taught to Count

Honey bees can be trained to count up to four, Queensland researchers have found
The Australian, 10/26/2008

Professor Mandyam Srinivasan (Mandyam Srinivasan) from the University of Queensland's Brain Research Institute today said the research also had shown bees could learn colours and smells and be trained to fly through complicated mazes.

One experiment in which landmarks were placed at frequent intervals in flight tunnels showed the tiny insects could be trained to differentiate between up to four separate landmarks before becoming confused.

"If you train them to the first landmark and then test them they will go to the first landmark,'' Prof Srinivasan.

"If you train them to the second one they will then search at the second one, and so one.''

But Prof Srinivasan said the honey bees could not perform if there were more than four landmarks.
"If you test them beyond four then they have trouble.''

He said a "gut feeling'' told him that he and fellow researcher Dr Marie Dacke would find the bees recognised any number beyond four as "many''…

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