Bees are the first invertebrates to understand the concept of "0," the study showed.
Facing two platforms with different quantities of objects, they can distinguish between "no object" and "multiple objects", and choose platforms with fewer objects.
"0" is also a difficult concept for humans.
Children who understand the number 0 are usually later than other Numbers, and it is often difficult to tell whether the number 0 is less than 1 or more than 1.
In addition to humans, some primates can also grasp the concept of "0", such as trained chimps and monkeys, which can be learned and understand the meaning of "0".
Given that bees' brains are small, it seems unlikely that they would join the number 0 club.
However, studies have found that they can count up to four, which is a surprisingly well-developed mathematical ability.
In order to make it clear whether the bees can understand the concept of "0", the royal Melbourne institute of technology university of Scarlett Howard and her colleagues put two platforms, respectively placed above 1 to 4 of the same shape objects, to train the bees to distinguish between two Numbers (quantity).
Photo: Melbourne royal polytechnic university
Studies have shown that the bees can reward is pay equal attention to let them learn faster and so on a platform bees can get sweet sugar, put on another platform, have bad quinine (alkaline substances).
Choosing the right reward is sucrose, and the wrong choice is quinine.
The researchers trained bees to connect the platforms with smaller objects to sucrose until they were correct about 80 percent of the time.
The researchers then replaced the objects on the platform with different shapes, and then repeated the experiment.
The idea is to make sure that the bees choose according to the number of objects, not the shape of the object.
After that, when there were "0" objects and 2-3 objects on both platforms, the bees chose the platform without objects in most cases.
In the second experiment, another group of bees underwent the same training, but one of the two platforms had no objects on it, and one on the other was 1-6 objects.
Bees in the vast majority of cases still choose no platform of the object, but when another platform when only one object, the choice of them will be less accurate, or spend more time to decide.
Howard behavior (learn) study in Portugal this week at the meeting pointed out that "the gap between two groups on the number of objects seems to affect the bees to the difficulty of the choice, it also give '0 bees can understand the reasoning provided more evidence."
"A series of experiments have shown that bees understand '0' in similar ways to humans and primates, but we don't know how they do it," says Howard.
We still have a long way to go to understand the reasons behind it.
"There have been several attempts by non-primates to understand the digital (concept) '0' experiment."
Susan Healy, of the university of st Andrews in the UK, said: "invertebrates understand that digital '0' is going to overturn textbooks."