Identification and spatial negotiation through a hole, and possible influence of individual size
Abstract: Flying insects are able to negotiate complex environments such as tropical rainforests as well as less complex environments such as flowering meadows although little is known about how they avoid collisions while doing this. In this study, insect negotiation through holes was investigated using Bumblebees Bombus terrestris and Orchid bees Euglossa imperialis as test animals. This was done by allowing the individual to fly through a tunnel with an interchangeable endwall, with a varied assortment of attachable exitholes. The flight position were analysed, and ability to exit through the hole, light intensity, hole shape and/or size and individual size where recorded. We found that orchid bees in general are more willing to fly through holes than bumblebees. However, both species tend to fly through the hole at the safest point, i.e. point furthest from the surrounding edge. In addition, orchid bees tend to fly closer to the safest point than bumblebees do when negotiating larger holes. Lastly, we find no correlation between individual size and capability to negotiate through a hole.
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