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Data for: Visual guidance of landing approaches in honeybees


Goyal, Pulkit; Baird, Emily; Srinivasan, Mandyam V.; Muijres, Florian (2022), Data for: Visual guidance of landing approaches in honeybees, Dryad, Dataset,


Landing is an important flight phase during which many animals use visual cues to accurately control flight speed and touchdown. Foraging honeybees rely on this phase to collect food, which is essential for the survival and reproduction of their colony. Here, we study how honeybees use optical expansion cues to control their approach towards the landing surface while decreasing their flight speed. Honeybees, on average, land by keeping their optical expansion rate constant, which results in a linear decrease of their velocity with distance. But, do individual honeybees also exhibit this strategy during the complete landing maneuver? To answer this question, we analyzed the flight dynamics of individual honeybees landing on vertical platforms with varying optical expansion cues. We show that, unlike the landing strategy suggested by the average analysis, individual honeybees land by holding the optic expansion rate constant for short periods within the maneuver, and that they tend to vary the magnitude of optic expansion rate between these phases in a stepwise manner. Hereby, honeybees flying at relatively low optic expansion rates tended to stepwise upregulate their optic expansion rate set-point, whereas honeybees flying at high optic expansions tended to downregulate their set-point. This modular landing control system allows honeybees to land robustly for a large range of initial flight conditions and visual landing platform patterns. This landing strategy is strikingly similar to that of bumblebees, and is thus likely to be also found in other flying animals. Moreover, it can be used as bioinspiration for guidance systems of flying robots.


Australian Research Council, Award: CE0561903

Australian Research Council, Award: DP0559306

Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development, Award: FA4869-07-1-0010

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: NWO-TTW 15039

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: NWO/VI.Vidi.193.054