Although it is now quite clear that bees do decode the dances, odor does play a strong role in recruitment to food sources. It is appropriate to think of the dance as giving recruits a general idea of the direction and distance to the food source. Recruits then search in this area for sources matching the odors they have learned from the food carried by the dancing bee. Depending on the distribution of available food sources, the distance and direction information might be crucial in organizing a colony's food collection, or relatively unimportant. However, the relative importance of these two mechanisms in different habitats is just beginning to be investigated.
The angular scatter in the dance itself decreases with increasing distance indicated, as von Frisch reported. This change in scatter may be the result of changing duration of the waggle runs of the dance, but it also may be an adaptation to recruit bees to patches of more or less constant size at varying distances. This idea is supported by Seeley and Burmann's finding that the dances of scouts for nest sites,
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