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Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language

Karl von Frisch
Copyright Date: 1971
Edition: REV - Revised, 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Over half a century of brilliant scientific detective work, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Karl von Frisch learned how the world, looks, smells, and tastes to a bee. More significantly, he discovered their dance language and their ability to use the sun as a compass. Intended to serve as an accessible introduction to one of the most fascinating areas of biology,Bees(first published in 1950 and revised in 1971), reported the startling results of his ingenious and revolutionary experiments with honeybees.

    In his revisions, von Frisch updated his discussion about the phylogenetic origin of the language of bees and also demonstrated that their color sense is greater than had been thought previously. He also took into consideration the electrophysiological experiments and electromicroscopic observations that have supplied more information on how the bee analyzes polarized light to orient itself and how the olfactory organs on the bee's antennae function.

    Now back in print after more than two decades, this classic and still-accurate account of the behavior patterns and sensory capacities of the honeybee remains a book "written with a simplicity, directness, and charm which all who know him will recognize as characteristic of its author. Any intelligent reader, without scientific training, can enjoy it."-Yale Review

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-7177-3
    Subjects: Zoology, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    Donald R. Griffin

    Karl von Frisch is known throughout the world to both biologists and beekeepers for his discoveries of remarkable sensory capacities and behavior patterns in bees and other lower animals. In this book he reviews these scientific achievements in a straightforward account that requires for its enjoyment neither technical background nor undue effort on the part of the reader. Anyone who has kept a hive of bees has been perplexed at times by the fickle behavior of his charges. In these pages many of the puzzling habits of honeybees are lucidly explained and set into proper perspective as keystones of an...

  4. Preface to the Revised Edition
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Karl von Frisch
  5. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Karl von Frisch
  6. 1. The Color Sense of Bees
    (pp. 1-34)

    The honeybee, living in its beehive, is a social insect. In an ordinary beehive there are about sixty thousand bees, but only one is a fully developed female. This is the queen, the only egg-laying insect in the colony. The males or drones are larger, more plump, and a little stupid and lazy. All of the remaining bees are workers (Figure 1). The workers are not able to produce eggs, under normal circumstances, for their ovaries are small and undeveloped; but in other respects they are females, with the typical instincts of females; they do all the work in the...

  7. 2. The Chemical Senses of Bees
    (pp. 35-68)

    In the first chapter I mentioned the fact that when a bee is visiting flowers it usually restricts its visits to a single species of plant. This is of advantage to the bee, since it encounters the same familiar mechanism within the blossoms. It is also very important for the plants, for it assures that the pollen brought by bees originates in other flowers of the same species. How is it possible for bees to recognize one species of flower among all the others that may be in bloom nearby? There are flowers of many colors and shades, but the...

  8. 3. The Language of Bees
    (pp. 69-144)

    When I wish to attract some bees for training experiments I usually place upon a small table several sheets of paper which have been smeared with honey. Then I am often obliged to wait for many hours, sometimes for several days, until finally a bee discovers the feeding place. But as soon as one bee has found the honey many more will appear within a short time—perhaps as many as several hundred. They have all come from the same hive as the first forager; evidently this bee must have announced its discovery at home.

    I was curious to learn...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 145-152)
  10. Index
    (pp. 153-158)