Gravity-independent orientation of honeycomb cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Honey bees have long been assumed to build their comb with the cells in either of two preferred orientations with respect to gravity ('vertical' or 'horizontal'). I show here that these typical cell orientations in fact derive from substrate orientation and a simple building rule, rather than the influence of gravity itself. When bees were induced to build comb on substrates at four different orientations with respect to gravity, they always made cells with one vertex pointing directly toward the substrate. This produced horizontal and vertical cells on vertical and horizontal substrates, respectively, but yielded intermediate orientations on oblique substrates. The apparent preference for vertical and horizontal cells may simply reflect substrate orientation in the rectilinear hives from which cell measurements have been taken.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-35
Number of pages3
JournalNaturwissenschaften
Volume87
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

combs (social insects)
Gravitation
gravity
substrate
Substrates
Comb and Wattles
Bees
cells
bee
Honey
Urticaria
preferred orientation
honey
honey bees
Apoidea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Ecology

Cite this

Gravity-independent orientation of honeycomb cells. / Pratt, Stephen.

In: Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 87, No. 1, 2000, p. 33-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e0caf101d42a4d879258ab594aea0ea5,
title = "Gravity-independent orientation of honeycomb cells",
abstract = "Honey bees have long been assumed to build their comb with the cells in either of two preferred orientations with respect to gravity ('vertical' or 'horizontal'). I show here that these typical cell orientations in fact derive from substrate orientation and a simple building rule, rather than the influence of gravity itself. When bees were induced to build comb on substrates at four different orientations with respect to gravity, they always made cells with one vertex pointing directly toward the substrate. This produced horizontal and vertical cells on vertical and horizontal substrates, respectively, but yielded intermediate orientations on oblique substrates. The apparent preference for vertical and horizontal cells may simply reflect substrate orientation in the rectilinear hives from which cell measurements have been taken.",
author = "Stephen Pratt",
year = "2000",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "87",
pages = "33--35",
journal = "Naturwissenschaften",
issn = "0028-1042",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gravity-independent orientation of honeycomb cells

AU - Pratt, Stephen

PY - 2000

Y1 - 2000

N2 - Honey bees have long been assumed to build their comb with the cells in either of two preferred orientations with respect to gravity ('vertical' or 'horizontal'). I show here that these typical cell orientations in fact derive from substrate orientation and a simple building rule, rather than the influence of gravity itself. When bees were induced to build comb on substrates at four different orientations with respect to gravity, they always made cells with one vertex pointing directly toward the substrate. This produced horizontal and vertical cells on vertical and horizontal substrates, respectively, but yielded intermediate orientations on oblique substrates. The apparent preference for vertical and horizontal cells may simply reflect substrate orientation in the rectilinear hives from which cell measurements have been taken.

AB - Honey bees have long been assumed to build their comb with the cells in either of two preferred orientations with respect to gravity ('vertical' or 'horizontal'). I show here that these typical cell orientations in fact derive from substrate orientation and a simple building rule, rather than the influence of gravity itself. When bees were induced to build comb on substrates at four different orientations with respect to gravity, they always made cells with one vertex pointing directly toward the substrate. This produced horizontal and vertical cells on vertical and horizontal substrates, respectively, but yielded intermediate orientations on oblique substrates. The apparent preference for vertical and horizontal cells may simply reflect substrate orientation in the rectilinear hives from which cell measurements have been taken.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0033955176&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0033955176&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 10663130

AN - SCOPUS:0033955176

VL - 87

SP - 33

EP - 35

JO - Naturwissenschaften

JF - Naturwissenschaften

SN - 0028-1042

IS - 1

ER -