There are many ways to ward off a predator, but perhaps none so enthusiastic as the Giant honeybee's team "wave." New research, linkurl:published this week; in PLoS One, demonstrates that a communal motion called the shimmering effect, in which hundreds of bees successively flip their abdomens upwards in a rapid wave, protects a hive by startling wasps away. "People have known for a long time that the Asian species of honeybees do this shimmering," said linkurl:Michael Breed,; an ecologist at the University of Colorado who was not involved in the study, "but nobody ever looked in a detailed way at how the behavior is organized or its exact relationship to the wasp." First author linkurl:Gerald Kastberger; believed the shimmering effect (which looks something like a crowd of tiny sports fans doing the wave) was a defensive reaction to an approaching hornet. "Giant honeybees nest out in the open," said Kastberger,...
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