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Data from: Organisation enhances collective vigilance in the hovering guards of Tetragonisca angustula bees

Citation

Shackleton, Kyle; Alves, Denise A.; Ratnieks, Francis L.W.; Ratnieks, Francis L W (2018), Data from: Organisation enhances collective vigilance in the hovering guards of Tetragonisca angustula bees, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h706tv8

Abstract

One benefit of group living is vigilance against predators. Previous studies have investigated the group size effect, where individual vigilance decreases as group size increases without reducing the overall ability of the group to detect predators. However, there has been comparatively little research on whether the positioning of individuals can improve the collective vigilance of the group. We studied the coordination of vigilance and its effect on predator detection in the eusocial bee Tetragonisca angustula. Nests are defended by hovering guards that detect and intercept intruders before they reach the nest entrance, in addition to those that stand upon it. We show that hovering guards are positioned non-randomly, with a strong tendency for equal numbers on both sides of the entrance. This organisation increases the collective vigilance of the guard group, as groups distributed in an even ratio, either side of the entrance, have a greater collective field of view than groups that deviate from an even ratio. Last, we use a bioassay to show that when guards are on both sides of the entrance, their ability to detect intruders before they reach the entrance increases. Overall, our results provide strong evidence that vigilance is coordinated, and that this improves nest defence. Whereas other group-living animals are often selfish in their individual vigilance behaviours, and face competing time constraints such as foraging, the altruistic nature of eusocial insect workers has likely facilitated the evolution of coordinated vigilance, as documented here in T. angustula.

Usage Notes

Location

South Amercia
Brazil