Abstract Ings:

Learning is expected to be potentially more important in predator avoidance than foraging because a single mistake can be fatal. However, few, if any, attempts have been made to measure the dynamics of predator avoidance learning in a natural context. We therefore quantify predator avoidance learning of nectar foraging bumblebees using a novel, semi-natural, foraging paradigm.
We presented bees with an artificial meadow containing 16 remotely controlled flowers that could simulate a predation attempt by a crab spider by capturing bees as they fed. Avoidance learning and memory dynamics were measured for bees encountering dangerous flowers with either visible or camouflaged spider models. In addition, flight behaviour was quantified using 3D tracking software.
All bees learnt to avoid dangerous flowers well, irrespective of the visibility of the crab spider models. Bees learnt to avoid visible spiders slightly better than camouflaged spiders, although the speed of learning did not differ.  For both spider  visibility treatments bees continued to avoid dangerous flowers without significant loss in performance over both middle (minutes) and long time scales (24 hours). The presence of camouflaged spiders on dangerous flowers led to subtle changes in flight behaviour: when rejecting flowers, bees flew slower and spent longer inspecting dangerous flowers than safe flowers.
Bumblebees are readily able to learn to avoid simulated predation attempts at flowers. When predators are difficult to detect they appear to compensate by slowing down inspection flights enabling them to maintain high levels of accuracy. enetic information is encoded in the nucleotide sequence of the DNA. This sequence contains the instruction code of the cell - determining protein structure and function, and hence cell function and fate.