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The final moments of landing in bumblebees, Bombus terrestris.

  • Therese Reber
  • Emily Baird
  • Marie Dacke
Publishing year: 2016-02-11
Language: English
Publication/Series: Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

In comparison to other insects, like honeybees, bumblebees are very effective pollinators. Even though landing is a crucial part of pollination, little is known about how bumblebees orchestrate the final, critical moments of landing. Here, we use high-speed recordings to capture the fine details of the landing behaviour of free-flying bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), while landing on a flat platform with different orientations. We find that the bees have a fairly constant body and head orientation at the moment of leg extension, irrespective of platform tilt. At the same moment in time, the distance to the platform is held constant at around 8 mm (with the exception of low platform tilts). The orientation of the antennae and the first appendage that touches the platform vary between platform orientations, while the duration of the hover phase does not. Overall, the final moments of landing in bumblebees and their close relatives, the honeybees, are similar. However, the distance to the platform at the moment of leg extension and the duration of the hover phase are different in bumblebees and honeybees, suggesting that they are primarily adapted to land on surfaces with different orientations.


  • Zoology
  • Behavioral Sciences Biology


  • ISSN: 1432-1351
Emily Baird
E-mail: emily [dot] baird [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 96 18

+46 72 700 55 55



Research group

Lund Vision Group


Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD Students, main supervisor

Pierre Tichit

PhD Students, assistant supervisor

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