skaterboytae:

When a honeybee dies it releases a death pheromone, a characteristic odor that signals the survivors to remove it from the hive. This might seem a supreme final act of social responsibility. The corpse is promptly pushed and tugged out of the hive. The death pheromone is oleic acid [a fairly complex molecule, CH3(CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)7COOH, where = stands for a double chemical bond]. 

What happens if a live bee is dabbed with a drop of oleic acid?

Then, no matter how strapping and vigorous it might be, it is carried “kicking and screaming” out of the hive. Even the Queen bee, if she’s painted with invisible amounts of oleic acid, will be subjected to this indignity.

Do the bees understand the danger of corpses decomposing in the hive? Are they aware of the connection between death and oleic acid? Do they have any idea what death is? Do they think to check the oleic acid signal against other information, such as healty spontaneous movement? The answer to all these questions is, almost certainly, No. In the life of the hive there’s no way that a bee can give off detectable whiff of oleic acid other than by dying. Elaborate contemplative machinery is unnecessary. Their perceptions are adequate for their needs.

Ann Druyan & Carl Sagan, Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors: Who Are We?, What Thin Partitions 

(Reblogged from fyeahchemistry)

Notes

  1. viking369 reblogged this from cameronbaum
  2. jadeum2197 reblogged this from soapgoats
  3. rhomanova reblogged this from soapgoats
  4. jaredsbuttdimples reblogged this from soapgoats
  5. soapgoats reblogged this from cameronbaum
  6. cameronbaum reblogged this from skaterboytae
  7. thiocyanat reblogged this from skaterboytae
  8. sciencenebula reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  9. blu-axolotl reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  10. anideaday reblogged this from brainsx
  11. iarrthoireolais reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  12. tramiblr reblogged this from brainsx
  13. oh-no-i-only-have-116-pages-left reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  14. lioninzion reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  15. mage-of-geekery reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  16. the-eccentric-scientist reblogged this from brainsx
  17. science-in-a-jar reblogged this from brainsx
  18. brainsx reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  19. johnmtg reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  20. aurum-goldenfemme reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  21. totally-not-curlath reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  22. hometothepalace reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  23. believe-in-me00 reblogged this from fyeahchemistry
  24. tumblingchriswig reblogged this from fyeahchemistry