Polarization Sensitivity in Terrestrial Insects

  • Gábor Horváth
  • Dezső Varjú


Karl von Frisch (1948, 1953, 1967) observed that honeybees Apis mellifera inform their hive mates about the existence and abundance of a food source or during swarming about a new nesting place farther than 100 m away from the hive by means of the so-called tail-wagging dance. They communicate the direction in which the food lies through a straight wagging walk. The bees utilize the solar azimuth as a reference direction and transpose the azimuth angle, which has to be kept while flying to the feeding-place with respect to the solar azimuth, onto the direction of gravity. During the dance, this is usually on the vertical comb in the dark hive. Then the vertical direction pointing upwards corresponds to the solar direction. On a horizontal surface the bees point the direction of their wagging walk directly toward the feeding-place if they see at least a clear patch of the sky.


Polarization Sensitivity Retinula Cell Terrestrial Insect Green Receptor Solar Azimuth 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gábor Horváth
    • 1
  • Dezső Varjú
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological PhysicsEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl Kognitive NeurowissenschaftenUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany

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