Title: "A mechanistic approach to assimilating vector information in the honeybee waggle dance"
Abstract: The honeybee waggle dance has been widely studied as a communication system, and yet we know surprisingly little about how nestmates assimilate the information needed to navigate towards the signalled resource: their orientation relative to the dancer and the duration of waggle phase. Although it has long been suggested that followers use tactile stimuli arising from the contact between their antennae and a dancer’s wagging movements to decode information, the details underlying this interaction and its relation to a neurobiological mechanism supporting its interpretation are unknown. The central complex (CX) is a well-mapped neuropil in the insect brain important for oriented behavioural responses. In this work, we take a mechanistic approach to studying dance communication and propose how a neural circuit for path integration modelled on the insect CX might use the antennal input that nestmates experience to acquire the signalled information in the form of a flight vector that they can follow to the resource. We accompany our hypotheses with experimental data from automated tracking of Apis mellifera following dances in the wild, including positional information and the orientation of their antennae at a high frame rate.