Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why People Don't Like Evolution

Brian doesn't, can't comprehend where all this form comes from. Can't imagine that the form of Gloeotrichia, lichen, Coprinus is the product of arbitrary forces. (but they aren't arbitrary.)

That's what bothers them. Lichen ascocarp is obviously a work of art; composed, balanced, spiced with color, harmoniously functioning... And how can all that be a product of arbitrary evolution? It's got to be designed by a mind.

(But look here: how does a planet keep from flying off into space? Ain't some INTENTION got to be pulling it?

We are so full of our own story of consciously willed acts. And this is a fairy tale all of us self puffed up baby Gautama Buddhas tell ourselves. We want to think that human mind is the only source of creation in this universe.

So why do we want everything beautiful, structured to come from the human mind? Are we so bent on a myth that human mind is alien to this world that it ought not be tainted by mud, wet pussy, mosquitoes and decaying flesh of a grandmother? This is the impetus to fight a theory of evolution, we want our souls to be immortal and evolution is a story of the cycling through death. Creation out of death.

Miraculous coming together of pattern and then eventual dissolution of pattern is the way of the universe unless the patterns are simple tautological developments of physical law.

So why can't an intricately carved and behaving Stentor be the product of mud and random forces? Look, not many people have the slightest clue as to the immense hierarchical complexity of the city of molecules that makes a Stentor behave.

To say a Stentor is the activity of molecules is to say nothing to the average man on the street. They just have no training in the levels of complexity involved. Even after a few years of biology in college!!!

Why not? Don't people stop to think how a language functions, a nation functions, forest functions? But not necessarily with the agenda of looking for interacting parts!

M. Scott Peck says life is hard, life is complex. Too know this, to act upon this knowledge is to become as God. To act in this way is to act with a great burden of responsibility. Most of us shy from it.

To take the time to learn how a theory of evolution by natural selection on molecular driven metabolism and structure can create life is to do a lot of hard work and once this hard-won knowledge is won, you got the opportunity to be responsible for creation yourself. You realize that you might actually be able to create life, redesign life. We fear this.

Are you serious Bar? That's the fear? Sure, if you leave stentor, human mind, the ability for such to be created in the FUZZY realm of a Michelangelo in the sky to paint with some brush strokes you aren't really taking responsibility for understanding how this creation works. You are not SERIOUSLY asking how it's possible!

Look, if you subscribe to the story that some mind created - poof - Stentor AND directs its steps, you are living in delusion. You short-circuit the need to understand, the possibility of understanding, even the DESIRE TO LOOK AT THE COMPLEXITY YOU WISH TO REMAIN IGNORANT ABOUT.

That story keeps you from doing the hard work of experiments in physics, chemistry to learn how parts can make wholes over many levels of complexity. Years of leaning and doodling that takes to hold in your mind an image of the humongous circus that is a Stentor on the molecular level.

Only after you have accepted this task of learning are you even eligible for the right to decide whether Stentor is cooperative mechanics or mind of God.

Of course just the act of saying, "mind of God" throws out the whole question of structure. Even throws out any questioning at all. So, yes, denying outright a theory of evolution, in most people is probably just shear laziness!

And in the Practical realm? Obviously! People listen to topical events and personalities on the NEWS every evening but to act on that information as a citizen in a polity requires wending the complex paths of human, economic... interactions and understanding how complex interactions of parts works.

As I stated in MONSTERS, people want to take the easy way out and instantiate horror in a monster, beauty in a god, instead of thread through what is in reality the complex set of interactions required to understand how the horror comes about. I.e. how tanglingly complex the damm structure was that makes it look like horror as it comes apart! Easy way out is to invent a simple monster instead and kill it. But that doesn't heal. Healing requires patience and untangling.

Molecular Journey to the Ants in the Forest

If dead creatures fall to Earth, to the ground, rotting
who picks up? The Mother?
Luckily, Oak leaf and squirrel are not built
of inert parts, dead dumb building blocks,
but active molecules resting, staying together for awhile
in a chemical embrace.
But down in the wet fallen leaves and twigs it's colder, less sunlight.
So there's energy, yet to pull out of sugars
strong strands of cellulose,
spent fatty membranes of cells.
And the living and dead ones have more story yet to tell the night sky.
So flesh flings apart into simpler existence
sprung apart by living catalysts.
Now fling their birth energy from the sun into night.
Becoming simpler seperate mobile forms,
becoming breath again.

And the catalysts are embeded in,
take the form of living creatures
earthworms probing softly in the night,
with its featureless blind headless head.
white nets spreading accross leaves of fungal fingers
thousands of mites like motes of dust chewing
and the slow eating of pale white grubs.
And the ants.

Ants are funny creatures;
they are one coordinated identity?
Many mouths many mobile catalysts
strength in numbers though and mobile,
help each other perform complex tasks
many colonies to the square yard
in soil in wood in nut shells under all rocks and logs

The strong staight wooden trunk of oak
is the temporary resting place of breath elements
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.
so the beetle larvae eat tunnels through it
and the carpenter ants enlarge them into vast
three dimensional smoothly polished chambers
and the lightning strikes it down to the forest floor
where it moistens, moss grows on it
and wood eating microbes in the bellies of termites
who chew it up finer and finer for them
dissolve it back into breath

All complex stories like the oak
in the face of Night are anxious to return to Night,
to the seperate fleeting existence of breath
their vast networks of macromolecules
want to let go of their charged embrace of each other
and release electron potential through infrared photons
back to Night whence they came back in the beginning.

After the quick beginning of the universe
in the birth burst of the initial singularity event,
the simplest elemental stuff, protons and neutrons
electrons hazily wandering among them
spilled out into space fleeing from each other
they were happiest huddled together
but as the universe expanded
they grew too cold to perfom the act.

Then the strong far reaching arms of gravity
began to pull this chaotic outflinging of sunstuff together
squeezing electrons to higher orbit and out of the way
squeezing nuclei together into higher orbit
and in the seething cauldron of the sun
they were smashed into each other and joined
joined to make the staff of life: carbon
joined to make nitrogen, subtle partner to her
joined to make the burning oxygen
will keep on joining till the end when
happiest, close huddled
into the heavy solid core of iron
in the belly of a planet or cold white dwarf sun,

But meanwhile, the sun shone.
energy of a million atomic bombs
race back to the void that gravity pulled it from
from that dense hot core of cauldron in the sun,
through a pinball game against atom after
rushing atom of sun's seething middle space,
long journey it is, takes a million years
for one single photon of it to
reach the surface of the sun,
to slow it down from a million degrees of heat
and pressure, down to a mere 5700 degrees fahrenheit.
looking yellow to our eyes and feeling
warm on our skin. and then quickly rushes by
and flees to oblivion in the cold dark void,
perhaps never to come back again.

And meanwhile some flees past Earth
and can whip up some ephemeral
stories on the way, keep spinning
for a while a goodly number of plates
the magician balances on poles on his nose
and elbows and one knee, till they eventually
die down and fall.
So for a little while the day, the light
of sun in the day, shining, casts into
electron dances of atoms,
makes them dance more freely
sharing partner nuclei to form
temporary families of atoms
a square dance between 'em. and shapes
and colors and even smells evolve
on the face of the Earth in sunlight.

But on the night side, stuff huddles
facing the dark cold void,
these celebratory electrons pumped with photons of excitement,
these electron families pumped up
with celebration of that initial singular
burst birth event can't hold out
to the night sky which calls that initial event
into the future,so they let go,
settling tighter to each its own nucleus,
and the families of atoms of electron dances seperate
back into simple molecules of breath.

They would like to do this,
but they can't, for they are loaded like a spring
and need help to unlock the catch to let that spring
of energy fling into the night sky.
So enzymes do this but enzymes are delicate, elaborate,
molecules of shape, many excited electonsfull
of huge molecules many reactions away
from the stablest molecules of breath.
So enzymes find themselves homes, build themselves homes
to sheath them in a comfortable soup.
Because being masters of energy play, flexibility of morphing,
they would absorb sunlight, would absorb high dancing
potential of melecular oxygen and flow quickly,
too quickly into the night.
So they build around themselves a mob,
of dancing crowds of dancers,
molecules singing and drinking drunkily in crowds
form a living soup, the busy cell structures.
build those cells into an organism
to save them from harsh air and light.

build more complex and more complex kinds of dancing
and sun flows to void means ultimately
this fierce huge shining sun eventually settles
into a dull spinning sphere of iron core
cold and used up.
but against that flow
flowing to the future which is death,
runs the complexity forming of Earth protoplasm
playin in this flow.

And dances of dances huge overnight parties
of electon dancing between nuclei drunk on light,
form vast extensive square dances, and bucket brigades
of slowing down the fate of speeding photons
from the sun to their eventual doom
to the calling dark cold voids of space,
slow them down to catch their excitement a little while
to help ferment the brew for the party,
to run the machinery of enzyme building, reparing,
a myriad tasks in that frenetic ballroom.
These dances build up the cell.
build up hierarchy to manage all complexity

and cells come together into organisms...

and the work of the night the work of photons fleeing
to cold night is done in the soil,
cool moist soil. There lurk the little creatures
slowly laying out the exhausted parties
and palaces of electron celebration far flinging
from the elaborate nuclii dances
and slowly allow them to slip apart
and settle lower and lower into quieter dances.
let slip out those photons of celebration
onward towards their destiny of oblivion.
These slow blind mole creatures,
digging, chewing, salivating, cuttin up
the constucts of that daytime madness into quiet night

Ants reign supreme here,
vast multimouthed organisms
masters of coordination and seperation,
so many sharp toothed mandibles
so many glands for secretion and communication
how does a colony of ants compare to an earthworm?
Earth worms born way back
from an old family line of mud burrowing sea worms
needs moisture and has only one mouth,
or used to have many wide reaching threads
of filter feeding delicate flowers floating in the ebb and flow
of deep sea waves.
But land, the move to land is difficult,
letting a flower of filter feeding filiments out on land, it would droop,
it would dry out.

in the sea all flowin swirlin past you
and water comes into mud burrows
and you can create currents to flow through your mud burrow
pulling in O2 and flinging out CO2, spent electon stuff.
You can stay moist and boyant so easily.

But land, land was so hard to colonize
and some worms tried, brave souls
that slowly, generation after generation worked their ways
up the mud routes learning from the mistakes of their forbears,
generation after generation
being winnowed by the harshness of the drying sun and wind rushing.
The hot flow of life giving life flinging sunlight
on dry land offers so much opportunity to build sky scrapers
of elaborate complex celebrations
but it's so dry, it's too much.
Delicate operations to piece together complex dances
requires nurturing wombs of water
but how on dry land?

and so the various organisms had to be molded
by abundant exploration and winnowing
to contain tiny earth boats of sea within them,
build thick waxy water repellant cuticle,
build melanized sclerotized cuticle
to absorb life wrecking ultraviolet rays.
Rays to incite atoms to dance together,
but too much, they join more and more
dances tangling into
one single black orgy of tar.

and Oxygen abounded but how to let gills float free
to feel it? Without the boyancy born of water,
they would colapse in on themselves and jam.
So many problems to solve to conquer dry land.

So earthworms stay in their burrows in the drying day.
only have one mouth for eating, and cant travel
too far in search for food, but at night they do.
Why cant Earthworm's be as succssful as ants?

So, insects. Sing to me goddess, do I
know yet enough about insects to tell me why
they alone of the host of the sea can scuttle
accross hot desert sands roasting with heat to
fry a worm or a snail and still survive?
What has made insects ruling beast of dry land?
How did they bring ashore self contained earth boats
of life holding womb nutrients sloshing inside of them?
What makes 'em tick? Hemocoel instead of Ceolum?
Crisp jointed waxed cuticle rather than
up instead of flexible pliable worm cuticle?
Sclerotized exoskeleton with flexible joints?
The existence of a skeleton at all?
What creatures of the sea had skeletons?
Snails and ammonites but it had no flex!
ammonites were creatures that plied the trade of bouancy.
But stiff shell was no match for the pliable spine of the fish.
The arthropods, crustaceans, masters of joints
and clinging to seaweed and clambering over rocks
from pool to pool when the water became stale.
picking off the other sea creatures that rotted away,
scavanging what died in the hot sun.

So the arthropods predisposed to find life
under that hot unforgiving sun

The trachea what fine invention was that?
how did the insect tribe find the right balance,
the right organization of meeting place
between internal blood sea in canals
and life burning air flow into tracheal maze?

And spent enzymes, the loose ends of ammonia
that get cut off in the internal maintenance of the body?
Ammonia is a poison to all creatures
thy must expell it from each cell of their bodies
for small creatures, mother ocean washes it away from them.
washes away spent enzyme ammonia,
washes away carbon dioxide from the breath
carbon dioxide, another poison to the cells.

But if you live on land, ammonia's a problem.
the air that bathes you won't wash it out of cells
besides if it did it also takes with it precious water
water, a dear commodity on land
So you seal your skin with cuticle
and expell ammonia in piss. etc etc..

[do i really need this in this poem?]

so urea requires much extra energy
to concentrate out in vast work of insect kidneys,
the tangled malpighian tubes of internal sea
and deposit it on dry land.

But why cant they just recycle the nitrogen parts
that's a mystery to me. Must be some nitrogen joining reaction
is too dangerous to take place
in the delicate complex house of cards
balance of large hypersea organisms
and must be left to the quick and fleeting
simplified bacteria in the muds and soils

And so the insects prospered on the face of Earth
under the strong dangerous rays of the sun.

But the soil, all dead plants and dead insect bodies
accumulated on it. They dry out.
You got to get them under where it's moist
for bacterial enzymes to work them.
In the sea dead bodies sink down
and a vast and silent benthos of organisms
slowly digests them in perpetual night

But on land they just rain down onto dry soil
and how to you tear em apart and moisten them
so they can begin their journey back to breath?
and let the sunlight resting in high flung bonds
back to the waiting cold dark void at night?

Chew, chew the detritus into tiny bits
needs armies of little jaws and littler jaws
and pull em under the earth to moisten them
and bring them into internal seas to house
delicate enzymes to digest them.

and the rain of litter of dead bugs and plants
and animals and rain of leaves and seeds and wood
is chaotic is messy
is far flung accross the face of the ground
and one methodical organism one mouth
and stomach just can't do it.

Especially in the tropics,
the tropics is trees is a tangled mass of tree branches
and vines and roots and crevices, there just aint time
for one whole organism holding internal digesting
sea in her belly and arteries to canvass that complexity.

See her on a branch: it branches in two ways.
She needs to split herself in half to visit
both paths quickly conserving effort for her tribe
then split herselves in half again, again
and whilst splitting, collecting, eating and exploring she needs
more of herselves to digest the stuff she finds
and brings back to her nestmates
more the herselves to watch for predators
more of herselves to watch for parasitiods
which would like to live inside of her internal seaboat

And now she is, such a multidute of herselves
canvassing that chaotic branching world
she must continuously provide much young
and who will tend them?
More of herselves to tend and protect them
to carry them from crevice to crevice

This is the genesis of the ants.

FLESH, WOOD ARE BREATH: raw material for poems?

majestic but not static,
churned by thunderstorm and succession

aloof beasts inside bark?
bark merges with soil, bugs.
roots embraced by delicate fungal mycelia
roots embraced by mushroom toungues

I can sit in a tree
waving with the wind
I can see through the leaves
leaves that flutter and tinkle in the wind
make papery windchime music

trees grow
embodying the shapes of the years, months, and days
sun pulling leaves and buds round the sky trek
sculpted by wind into shapes that fit my body
echo the shapes of hills i can see through her branches

i use my whole body to climb a tree like sex
like sex, the tree is responding, only slower
ants live on it
it's growing.

leaves are formed
are born
in the tiniest, quietest little factories: the bud tips
and unfurl.
and the leaves are veined
and the veins are veined and the texture goes in deeper and deeper

When they are exhausted they go through this tiring out process,
drying out process
each cell like the leaves themselves going away into breath, one by one
and dying, molecule by molecule
they leave behind subtle colors and textures
subtle shades of red yellow brown
gifts fallen to ground
of intricate carving and texture
more beautiful and more comforting
than any manmade gimcrack
forgotten in the trash.

(but leaves are not forgotten...)

this dying out process unfolds the complexity out of which these leaves were made

Tree buds, those thousands of wood shedding...
Tree buds, weaving their way upwards towards the sun...
Tree buds, opening and closing with the seasons,
fluttering through the centuries like green butterflies through the woods
Calling their children to follow them generation after generation
leaving behind a woven trail of strong wooden branches as memory
shed dresses left behind

When tree buds have travelled so high,
When bracket fungi and beetle have chewed their woven mountain hollow,
When buds die of drought,
no strong rivers left to flow through them into hot sunlit days,
Or when lightning strikes their home,
releasing their woodwork back into breath it was pulled from...

But they know this.
They grow anther and ovum
They mate to mix their mother's and father's pasts
They fling gemlike pollen, those heirloom capsules of old stories,
into the wind.
or hang them out to catch flight on woolen bee's thighs
send them forth to find fertile ova
incite her to grow into a far fearing seed boat
marvel of ribosome machinery
able to entice sun, soil, and breath
into a whirlpool of biochemical square dances.

not born in factories
each leaf
a swarm of brilliant green little ones
like Chlamydomonas, single celled marvel of ponds
daughters splitting themselves into more daughters like siamese twins
splitting, then huddling together in tree celebration

how do leaf cells grow?
the shapes
the timing
the textures
not strictly repetitive
not wholy determined
cells are creative!

trees do not build with repetitive bricks and rectangles as we do
a tree grows with moistness and any random flux from life
can alight in the moistness
and nudge it, all the nudges carving form into tree
a living complex clay that can be sculpted by surprise

cells grow at each other's boundaries
shape each other as they grow
with pliable woven walls
standardization not required!

if they don't all end up being identical packable polyhedra, it's all right. it fits.
living creatures are ways of fitting non identical shapes together.

but if subject to surprise,
open to the whims of weather
how do sycamore leaves, eyebrows, babies' hands
fall into forms at all?
out of a vast blobby space of all possible form
life falls into specific form
no mere amorphous haze of protoplasm.
how does she do it?

with their long legacy of chemical crafstmanship
craft of sculpting with atoms
they maintain discrete forms out of the vast blobby space of all possible forms.

strung like beads on streams of Sun to Void flowing
they drive each other to speciation
but arriving at distinct forms
fixed for long periods of time
and we do not live in the nightmare haze
of a vast continuum of blobby green plasm
covering the face of the Earth.

The young spring leaves glow bright yellow green in the morning sun.
Glow and glisten in their suppleness,
matching the suppleness and softness of my lips
kissing my lover's soft shoulders.
They glow like her eyes.
Leaves have hairs like the downy hairs of her belly,
and texture of veins
sprouting yet more veins
sprouting yet more veins themselves.

Leaves and I obviously come from the same family!
both grown by cells within us,
these wonderful cells who are already living creatures.
we are creatures of creatures
relationships made of relationships

whiplash Chlamydomonas algae and tentacled Choanoflagelate
ancestor to sycamore and us
watch 'em in a drop of pond water
you see they are brother and sister.
at root sharing the same life qualities, capabilities.
only minor differences
that get played out only when each kind joins into huge multicellular lives

What are the miraculous qualities
these cells share
that they can grow woman and sycamore sprig in quiet sensual wombs?

they are molecular dances
they are fluid
able to act and sculpt with surprise
masters of maintaining the forms handed down by their ancestors
desiring food, shunning pain
being linked to each other in ecological cycles
having earthy geology and weather patterns and cycles of year, month,
and day embodied in them
they are playful, inventive, dynamic, they fight hard!
they have strong lust for sex with each other
in order to play with new combinations of heredity
and at the same time to help maintain the hereditary integrity of their species.
Then again, sexual reproduction can drive speciation

These are very sophisticated acts requiring very highly evolved and
sophisticated molecular machinery, molecular dances that cells have
evolved over the millions of generations of exploration. These

cells, are tiny,
but even as single cells they are richly textured,
having as many moving parts and active agents
as does all of New York City!
And they come together in millions, billions,
to sculpt from the inside our living bodies
with veins and cillia and hairs and limbs and joints and nerves and vessels and layers and cavities.

And the networks, meshworks, webworks of molecular fibers
that they weave betwen themselves makes us tough and supple,
giving the joy of climbing a tree waving in a strong wind
or touching my bare body to my lover's bare body,
supple, rippling soft firm tough muscular.
fibers which can imbibe water into their networks to make flesh.

We are built with water!
leaves and people are three quaters water
How wonderful!
Human architects use wood, rock metal paper or plastic
but never water.
How to envision architecture with water?

We are these meshworks
of living cells, molecular fibers, lipid membrane bags filled with water.
The lipid membranes themselves fluid films
that hold together because they repell and won't mix with the
water inside them or outside them.
Not only are we made of fluids and fibers,
but the fluids and fibers themselves are in continual flux.

Bodies of cells filled with water
which is not the stale stagnant water that sits in closed sacks,
but water that is in continual flow
from rain to river to soil to plants to people to breath to air to clouds and again to rain.
The water in us does not just sit IN us
but Flows through us.
We are tributaries
of this great gushing swrling of water round and round this Earth.

And the water is exhaled with each breath.
And The sacs of lipid membranes
are not just stagnant films of oil on water,
the molecules of fat continually flow in and out of metabolism
to be exhaled as a breath of carbon dioxide.
And the tough protein fibers and muscles are linked together by nitrogen
that also flows through metabolism out the piss as urea into living fermenting soil,
because our fibers are not fixed
but are in a continual state of assembly and disassembly
as our living bodies respond and rearange to the flow of life around ourselves.
But the fermenting molding tangle
of soil fungi and bacteria
exhale urea back into nitrogen gas to the air.

And the vapor of the breath goes back to the swirl of clouds
and the carbon dioxide of the breath is inhaled by plants
and linked into their cellulose fibers to make wood
and the nitrogen from the breath of soil bacteria
is lassoed, hard fighting molecule that it is,
by select tribes of nitro fixing bacteria in the roots of plants
to be linked back into protein for us to eat.

90% of what we are, all of us on earth is water and carbon dioxide and nitrogen, all breath!
we are not solid at all,
in how many short weeks will what percent of me become air again?

We are just momentary coming together places of breath.
Not things,
more like temporary aquaintances between characters in a long epic narrative.
Our flesh is like a song sung with the breath.
It is ephemeral.

But our forms are not.
Our forms are passed down from generation to generation
like songs or stories.
The forms of species last on the average of two to ten million years
Some stories, like that of the horse shoe crabs has been handed down from generation to generation
through fourty million tellings and has not been lost! And the
distinct form of the undulating whiplash fiber in the tail of all plant
and animal sperm has been handed down from cell to cell, individual to
individual, even from species to species as they evolve, I don't know
how many billions of times. Handed down precisely! We've carried it
with us for at least a billion years on this journey. Every living
creature on this planet, more than 10 million of them, from redwood
tree to single celled dinoflagelate, forms his sperm tails with the
same exact pattern.

And if Darth Vader with his death star came to vaporize the Earth with all life on it, would the stories be lost? No! Those same cells who learned to swim and explore and mutate and create have been creating yet, and have learned to fly, and build, and.. we've even learned to leave the Earth, to explore new planets, such is the creativity and tenacity of life.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Some Peculiar Honey Bees

"Lindauer's (1952) bee number 107, possibly the most observed bee in history, spent parts of the eigth day of her life resting, patrolling, eating pollen, cleaning cells, tending brood, and building and capping comb"

"and a few workers observed by Winston and Punnett (1982) , which spent much of their lives grooming other workers.

"Occasionally a worker will be observed to perform only one task during most of her lifetime, such as Robinson, Underwood and Henderson's (1984) bee Yellow 57, which spent the last 14 days of her life collecting water."

Mark L. Winston, "the biology of the honey bee"

Lindauer, M. 1952. "Ein Beitrag zur Frage der Arbeisteilung im Beinsenstaat. Z. vergl. physiol. 34: 299-345 Transl in Bee World 34:63-73, 85-90

Robinson G. E. , B. A. Underwood and C. E. Henderson (1984) "a highly specialized water collecting honeybee." Apidologie 15:355-358

Winston M. L. and E. N. Punnett 1982. "factors determining temporal division of labor in bees" Can. J. Zool. 60:2947-52

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Want to Build a Honeybee Robot? Well, How Many Skills Are Packed Into That Tiny Critter?

*eat as larvae
*grow as a larva
*defecate once, then
*spin cocoon
*pupate into an adult
*chew way out of cell!
*eat pollen from cells
*beg for and accept brood food from nurse bees
*produce saliva in salivary glands to digest food
*cleaning self, brushing debris off body
*grooming antenna
*grooming other workers
*decide what to eat for each developmental stage
*cap brood
*tend brood
*feeding larvae
*recognize full sisters vs half sisters (different father)? and preferentially feed, especially if queen larvae
*produce larva food in mandibular glands when young
*produce protein and vitamin food for larva in hypopharyngeal glands when young
*produce alarm pheromone in mandibular gland when older
*decide what food to feed larvae depending on larval age!
*recognize adult begging and feed 'em
*regurgitate food for adults
*groom queen
*feed queen
*licking pheromones off queen
*exchanging with other workers
*trophallaxis which is NOT involved in feeding but in information exchange
*receive nectar
*produce invertase for honey production in hypopharyngeal glands
*evaporating nectar on mouth
*placing nectar in cells
*fanning nectar into honey
*produce wax
*preparing it with saliva and warming it
*cap honey cells
*packing pollen in cells
*receiving water
*build honeycomb
*occasionally move eggs/young larvae to queen cells!
*tear down queen cells when done
*recognize queen larval cells and feed royal jelly
*recognize diploid drone larvae and kill 'em
*clean debris from hive
*removing dead larvae and pupae from cells
*recognizing dead workers
*clean cells
*smooth edges
*remove caps
*sense humidity
*sense carbon dioxide levels
*ventilate hive mostly at entrance
*sense temp and maintain brood temp to close optimum between 30 and 35degC often to within .5deg
*upping metabolic rate to warm
*lining up in fanning chains to cool brood
*spreading water for cooling
*tongue lashing of water for faster cooling
*leaving nest to reduce metabolic heat and leave more room for ventilating
*patrolling (collecting and transferring info)
*guard duty
*release scent pheromone from nasanov gland at entrance
*letting in bees of same colony
*letting in workers of foreign colony if proper submissive behaviors especially if they bring food
*(foreign bees may be adopted, what behaviors? learning new hive scent!)
*recognizing adversaries
*releasing alarm pheromones if alarmed by attacker
*responding to alarm pheromones and flying out searching for attacker
*attack by buzzing
*attack by biting
*attack by pulling hairs
*group grappling on hard shelled insects
*turning and kicking and fanning to attack ants
*shimmering to attack wasps
*attacking robber honeybees at entrance in midair flight
*attack by stinging
*pulling away from stinger
*stinger continues to pump poison for a minute
*stinger exudes alarm pheromones
*flying to attacker based on sting pheromones
*zeroing in on sting pheromone and stinging in close spot
*recognizing nest mates
*orientation flight 5 minutes of circles to familiarize with territory
*first voiding of feces!
*find new source of resource, and come back
make round dance for sources closer than 15m communicating source quality compared to colony needs
*observe round dances
*make waggle dances for sources farther than 100m (intermediate dances for intermediate sources!)
*communicate amount of flight energy expended (distance and headwind), food quality vs needs, direction
*observing waggle dances
*summing info from multiple dances from same source!
*comparing info from dances from many sources and deciding on the most efficient
*squeak during observation of dance for food samples
*stock up on honey for energy before a flight take more if waggle dance says long distance
*DVAV dance to call workers to the dance stage
*there are probably other movement oriented communication acts
*keeping track of how many bees have taken pollen/nectar/water from you
*deciding to switch resources to forage for
*deciding whether to look for a dance to follow or go on a new scouting run
*(I don't understand, all the options a forager has in her 4 -5 days of foraging, when do you scout, when follow a dance, when go to a site you've memorized? age dependant?)
*more experienced foragers preferentially scout
*decide to scout when colony needs are NOT being met
*up to 35% of total foragers may scout!
*don't spend TOO much time on any foraging trip so that you can maximize time in nest *gaining info about changing foraging needs and possibilities
*deciding whether to unload pollen from incoming foragers
*deciding whether to unload nectar from incoming foragers
*deciding whether to unload water from incoming foragers
*deciding whether to unload propolis from incoming foragers
*sensing compass angle of sun
*sensing compass angle of polarization
*using landmarks to navigate
*sensing magnetic field
*assessing hierarchy of information between these
*compensating for passage of time
*remembering location of source over night
*learn the times of day for multiple optimal nectar flows
*visit specific learned patches at specific times of optimal nectar flows each day
*decide to do this instead of responding to other input
*visit same small patch at a foraging site repeatedly
*sense wind speed
*recognizing flowers visually
*color vision
*pattern vision
*pattern memory
*learn most efficient way to approach and collect food from a flower in 1 to 5 visits
*stick to that method.
*workers can memorize these things over 175 days of winter confinement!
*flower preference and food type preference is partially hereditary and can be bred for!
*visit mostly a single species of flower per foraging trip
*visit that species on next trip
*from 1 to >1000 flowers per trip
*when yield is good make short hops and change direction often between flowers to remain in one patch
*when collection efficiency drops decide to make longer hops not changing direction to move out of patch
*10 to 150 trips per day
*on average travel further for pollen than nectar (lighter?)
*sensing movement: flicker fusion frequency of 300 stripes/sec (human is 15-20)
*recognizing flowers olfactorily
*sensing olfactory direction
*foraging (lasts only about 800km 4 -5 days 10 trips /day)
*up to 6miles distant! (10km)
*recognizing pollen
*choose pollen based on odor and configuration of pollen grains
*collecting pollen
*manipulate anthers to get grains
*insert proboscis into tubular flowers for nectar, getting pollen on head and legs
*force closed flowers open and find pollen inside
*run along spikes and catkins getting pollen on body
*press abdomen against presentation flowers to get pollen
*packing it on pollen basket making it sticky with honey
*taking pollen packets off and placing in cells
*treating pollen with phytoacids and enzymes
*collecting nectar
*work flowers from the side for nectar avoiding pollen
*find side holes bitten by bumblebees for nectar
*learn to avoid getting trapped by flowers like alfalfa and search for 'tripped' flowers
*or approach trap flowers from the side
*collecting water
*releasing nasonov scent at resource location
*deciding to release nasonov scent at resources based on colony needs and source quality
*recognizing foreign nests as honey sources at end of summer or in time of dearth
*pre attack flights at nest entrance
*gaining entrance, ingesting honey and bringing back to colony
*(receiving bees observing waggle dance can tell by honey that it's from a hive?)
*successful robbers more likely to seek out more hives for honey
*regurgitating nectar and water
*using proventriculus to select contents of crop to digest
*excrete while outside nest
*hold it in in the winter!
*collecting plant resins
*produce propolis
*coat nest cavity with propolis
*plug holes with propolis
*embalm carcasses of mice etc.. with propolis
*develop into a queen
*as queen, produce queen substance in mandibular gland when a queen
*as queen, lay eggs
*as queen, sense difference between worker and drone cells
*as queen, fertilize an egg or not depending on which kind of cell
*as queen, recognize swarming behavior and leave hive with workers!
*develop into drone
*as newly hatched or prehatched queen, release pheromone and pipe
workers listen to piping
*don't let any other virgin queens out if hear a new virgin piping in the nest
*as queen, if more than one virgin queen in nest kill rival queens or kill queens still in cells
*workers form ball around loser in combat and finish her off.
*pre mating flight workers prepare queen
*workers push queen out of nest
*workers form dense cluster at entrance fanning nasonov pheromones to call her back
*as queen, go on mating flights
*as queen, find mating area FAR from nest probably >2km
*as drone find mating area FAR from nest probably >2km
*drone recognize queen
*queen recognize drone
*try to go on flights when weather conditions are right
*as drone follow queens
*as drone mount queen
*as queen decide whether to be receptive (within seconds?)
*as drone mate with queen and die
*as second drone push mating plug aside to mate with already mated queen
*when queen returns workers lick mating plug and remove it
*if not enough sperm go on more flights
*after enough sperm squeeze most of it out retaining enough in spermatheca.
*workers eat excess sperm off queen.
*when resources are low expel drones from nest
*if resrources are high or it's autumn and no queen keep drones for spring
*if queen is injured, initiate supersedure
*if queen is dies or drops in pheromone production, initiate supersedure
*if queen lays insufficient number of eggs, or lays unfertilized eggs, initiate supersedure
supersedure is to raise half a dozen new queens
*in cases of old queen laying fertilized eggs but in some way inferior, let new queen go on mating flight, keep old queen alive UNTIL new queen proves herself to be able to lay fertilized eggs, THEN let new queen kill old one.
*Or let old queen attempt swarm? will workers go with her? and practice new supersedure in new colony? not likely.
*in absence of queen and brood workers will begin to lay eggs
*laying workers may fight each other
*colonies with laying workers may raise up drones
*sense worker and larvae population levels
*begin brood rearing in dead of winter (signal?)
*synthesize information from cues about: colony size, brood area, adult population, brood nest congestion, worker age distribution, reduced transmission through nest of queen pheromones to begin queen rearing and preswarm conditions
*build drone cells numbered in proportion to colony resources
*feed queen more before swarming to induce more egg laying
*but closer to swarming time, feed her less, so she becomes light enough to fly
*harass queen prior to swarming
*younger workers engorge with honey during preswarming conditions up to 10 days prior, to be prepared for quick swarming decision
*sense worker brood maximum (all cells full) to initiate preswarm queen production
*initiate queen cells for swarming
*destroy queen cells if conditions aren't right
*sense weather conditions to decide on swarming
*engage in positive feedback loop swarm initiation
*harass queen during swarm initiation
*form swarm around queen
*fly with the swarm if you are young (less than 10days old), not old. (what about the scouts?)
*if on flight but queen didn't come, go back!
*form swarm cluster at interim site hanging from branch etc..
*scout for nests (initiated prior to swarm) (how to decide who scouts?)
*scouts study inside of possible nest
*scouts study environs of nest
*a scout synthesizes info about nest site from different times of day?
*scouts waggle dance site position and quality
*observing nest selection dances
*choose one and fly to it becoming a scout
*when consensus is reached (threshold level?) scouts perform buzzing run and initiates swarm flight
*when nest site is decided on form large cloud of bees and follow scouts
*scouts perform streaking flights through the cloud to guide it
*scouts attract workers to site entrance with nasonov glands
*founding nest
*initiate comb building
*huddling and buzzing to warm the wax to optimal working temp
*sense gravitational gradient
*if population levels warrant it go in an afterswarm with a newly mated virgin queen. test whether she lays fertile eggs first?
*covering nest entrance in winter!
*clustering in nest begins with ambient temps of 18degC
*at 14degC cluster develops compact shell of a few bees thickness the bees are in dynamic equilibrium circulating between layers
*by -5degC the cluster can no longer contract
*bees break out of cluster to feed on honey
*maintain minimal inner cluster temp of 13degC outer temp 8degC, maximal temp of 20degC

259 skills

-mostly from Winston's "Biology of the Honey Bee"

How is it ALL packed in there?