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Birth weight and sucrose responsiveness predict cognitive skills of honeybee foragers

  • Honeybees, Apis mellifera, can differ considerably in their birth weights but the consequences of these weight differences for behaviour are unknown. I investigated how these birth weight differences affected their cognitive skills when the bees reached foraging age. Individual sucrose responsiveness measured by the proboscis extension response is a strong determinant of appetitive olfactory learning performance in honeybees. Most of the observed learning differences between individuals or between genetic bee strains correlate with differences in their sucrose responsiveness. My second aim was therefore to investigate whether the sucrose responsiveness of newly emerged bees could predict the learning behaviour of the bees 3 weeks later. Both birth weight and sucrose responsiveness measured at emergence could predict olfactory learning scores as demonstrated by significant positive correlations. Heavy bees and bees with high sucrose responsiveness later learned better than lighter individuals or bees with lower responsiveness toHoneybees, Apis mellifera, can differ considerably in their birth weights but the consequences of these weight differences for behaviour are unknown. I investigated how these birth weight differences affected their cognitive skills when the bees reached foraging age. Individual sucrose responsiveness measured by the proboscis extension response is a strong determinant of appetitive olfactory learning performance in honeybees. Most of the observed learning differences between individuals or between genetic bee strains correlate with differences in their sucrose responsiveness. My second aim was therefore to investigate whether the sucrose responsiveness of newly emerged bees could predict the learning behaviour of the bees 3 weeks later. Both birth weight and sucrose responsiveness measured at emergence could predict olfactory learning scores as demonstrated by significant positive correlations. Heavy bees and bees with high sucrose responsiveness later learned better than lighter individuals or bees with lower responsiveness to sucrose at emergence. These results demonstrate for the first time a fundamental relationship between sensory responsiveness and morphology at emergence and later cognitive skills in insects. Because sensory responsiveness is closely linked to division of labour in honeybees, differences in weight and sucrose responsiveness at emergence might be involved in regulating division of labour.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Ricarda Scheiner
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.05.011
ISSN:0003-3472 (print)
Parent Title (English):Animal behaviour
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2012
Year of Completion:2012
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:Apis mellifera; birth weight; division of labour; foraging; honeybee; learning; maternal provisioning; sucrose responsiveness
Volume:84
Issue:2
Pagenumber:4
First Page:305
Last Page:308
Funder:German Research Foundation [SCHE 1573/2_1, SCHE 1573/3_1, SCHE 1573/4_1]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert