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Karl von Frisch discovered waggle dance [1] as communication system when bees talk about feed resources; Long story short, using a polar coordinate system, bees dance to reveal flowers to sisters.

My question is simple: how can this be possible since bees are in hives, which are dark?
That is, how can a bee sees its sister dancing in a dark hive?


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waggle_dance

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    $\begingroup$ You may want to look into the evolution of the dance, many of the different stages in its progression still exist, the most primitive form is done in the sunlight. nature.com/articles/43372 $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 18, 2021 at 21:02

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In bees that dance in the dark (not all do, some dance in the light) they don't watch the dance, they participate. The follow the dancer using their antenna and sound to keep track of them.

Beehives are often dark, so instead of watching the scout dance, the recruit bees follow the dancer using their antenna and the sounds produced during the dance to determine the directions to the food source.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/waggle-dance#:~:text=The%20dance%20conveys%20information%20about,directions%20to%20the%20food%20source.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've never caught this detail in many books I read; just another side of this fascinating insect $\endgroup$
    – mattia.b89
    Feb 20, 2021 at 7:39

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