The streamlining response in honeybees
Here we study a 'streamlining' response in honeybees, whereby honeybees raise their abdomen to reduce drag.
The results indicate that:
The 'streamlining' response, which was recently reported to be mediated by optic flow, is also strongly modulated by the presence of air flow simulating a head wind. The Johnston's organs in the antennae were found to play a role in the measurement of the air speed that is used to control the streamlining response.
We propose this multisensory integration will make the response more robust to transient disturbances. This method of regulating abdomen position based on multi-sensory cues could be used to inform the design of energy efficient unmanned aerial vehicles.
More information on this ongoing study is available here:
G.J. Taylor, T. Luu, D.Ball and M.V. Srinivasan (2013)
Vision and air flow combine to streamline flying honeybees.
Scientific Reports 3 : 2614. DOI: 10.1038/srep02614