Significance Of The Dance Language

The best known of the mechanisms of recruitment in social insects is the honey bee (Apis spp.) dance language, in terms of both its fame outside the realm of specialists and the depth in which it has been studied. The dance language is famous for a number of reasons. It is frequently cited as the premiere example of symbolic communication among nonhuman animals, and it is one of the first and best examples of such communication aside from human language. The discovery that mere insects could perform such a complex behavior led to a reassessment of the behavioral complexity possible among these animals with relatively small nervous systems, which had formerly been regarded as simple automatons governed by instinct and reflex. Finally, the dance language has provided a tool for studying the perceptual world and behavioral response of bees that has illuminated our understanding of their vision, olfaction, memory, orientation, learning, and social organization, and has provided a model for understanding these areas about insects in general.

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