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Sentience

November 25, 2020 - NewScientist

Bumblebees can fly sideways to fit through tight gaps

Bumblebees can fly sideways to fit through tight gaps
Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)© Photabulous!

Bumblebees change their flight patterns differently when they have to pass through a tight space based on their size, indicating that they have some idea of their own size and shape despite their simple nervous systems.

To test whether bees are aware of their size, Sridhar Ravi at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and his colleagues connected four hives to tunnels through which buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) had to fly in order to reach food. They then placed a wall in the middle of the tunnel, partially blocking it off but leaving a gap for the bees to slip through.

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