Von Frisch, Karl

Abstract

Karl von Frisch (1886–1982), an Austrian‐born scientist who discovered the meaning of the dance language by which honeybees communicate the location of foods and nesting sites to hive mates. He won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with the animal behaviourists Konrad Lorenz (also from Austria) and Nikolaas Tinbergen (of the Netherlands).

Keywords: bee dance language; von Frisch; animal communication; Nobel Prize physiology or medicine; animal behaviour

Figure 1.

Left: The shape of the round dance a forager bee uses to communicate the location of nearby foods to her hive mates. Right: The tail‐waggle dance performed by a bee returning from a far‐away foraging flight. Reproduced from von Frisch K (1973) Erinnerungen elnes Biologen. Berlin: Springer (English version). With kind permission of Springer Science and Business Media.

Figure 2.

The straight‐run portion of the bee's waggle dance in the hive relates to the direction in which a food source lies outside the hive. The angle the bee makes between its line of flight and the sun when it flies to a given food corresponds to the angle between the straight‐run portion of her dance with the vertical of the hive (as is represented by the small figure‐eight representations below the hives). Top: The waggle dance for a food source that lies in line with the sun. Bottom: The waggle dance for a food source located 40° to the left of the sun. Reproduced from von Frisch K (1973) Erinnerungen elnes Biologen. Berlin: Springer (English version). With kind permission of Springer Science and Business Media.

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Further Reading

Burkhardt RW Jr. (1990) Karl von Frisch. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 17(suppl. II): 312–320.

von Frisch K (1966) The Dancing Bees, an Account of the Life and Senses of the Honeybee, translated by D Ilse and N Walker, 2nd edn. New York: Harcourt, Bruce & World.

von Frisch K (1967) A Biologist Remembers. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

von Frisch K (1992) Decoding the Language of the Bee. In: Jan L (ed.) Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1971–1980, pp. 76–87. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.

von Frisch K (1993) The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees, translated by LE Chadwick, with a new Foreword by TD Seeley. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Munz T (2005) The Bee Battles: Karl von Frisch, Adrian Wenner and the Honeybee Dance Language Controversy. Journal of the History of Biology 38: 535–570.

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How to Cite close
Munz, Tania(Jul 2008) Von Frisch, Karl. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002940]