Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (UK) conducted an experiment on bumblebees to assess their ability to have fun in a game. And the results published last October are final: all the insects observed have, at some point, chosen to play with wooden balls; explains Numerama this Monday.
“Various animals have been found to interact with inanimate objects and manipulate them ‘just for fun’, that is, to play. The most obvious examples of play with objects come from mammals and birds,” pointed out the researchers, whose study was published in the British Journal of Animal Behaviour.
Males and young bumblebees played more
This time, they decided to study insects. In total, nearly 45 bumblebees were placed in an arena offering them two possibilities: a corridor with an area for feeding and another corridor with an area where small wooden balls were positioned. During their experiment, the researchers were able to establish that the game was a rewarding activity in these bumblebees and all of them, at some point, played with these balls.
The authors of the study also analyzed that the youngest bumblebees played more with the balls than the others, the same for the male insects. These are all characteristics that are found in many vertebrates. “Our results contribute to the question of susceptibility in insects and provide further support for the existence of positive affective states in these animals,” the researchers added.