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The influence of gustatory and olfactory experiences on responsiveness to reward in the honeybee.

Ramírez GP, Martínez AS, Fernández VM, Corti Bielsa G, Farina WM - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: This adjustment is generally associated with the fact that individuals of different ages display different response thresholds to given stimuli, which determine specific behaviors.In contrast no differences in worker responses were observed when presented with odor only in the rearing environment.This work demonstrates the accessibility of chemosensory information in the honeybee colonies with respect to incoming nectar.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Grupo de Estudio de Insectos Sociales, Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ABSTRACT

Background: Honeybees (Apis mellifera) exhibit an extraordinarily tuned division of labor that depends on age polyethism. This adjustment is generally associated with the fact that individuals of different ages display different response thresholds to given stimuli, which determine specific behaviors. For instance, the sucrose-response threshold (SRT) which largely depends on genetic factors may also be affected by the nectar sugar content. However, it remains unknown whether SRTs in workers of different ages and tasks can differ depending on gustatory and olfactory experiences.

Methodology: Groups of worker bees reared either in an artificial environment or else in a queen-right colony, were exposed to different reward conditions at different adult ages. Gustatory response scores (GRSs) and odor-memory retrieval were measured in bees that were previously exposed to changes in food characteristics.

Principal findings: Results show that the gustatory responses of pre-foraging-aged bees are affected by changes in sucrose solution concentration and also to the presence of an odor provided it is presented as scented sucrose solution. In contrast no differences in worker responses were observed when presented with odor only in the rearing environment. Fast modulation of GRSs was observed in older bees (12-16 days of age) which are commonly involved in food processing tasks within the hive, while slower modulation times were observed in younger bees (commonly nurse bees, 6-9 days of age). This suggests that older food-processing bees have a higher plasticity when responding to fluctuations in resource information than younger hive bees. Adjustments in the number of trophallaxis events were also found when scented food circulated inside the nest, and this was positively correlated with the differences in timing observed in gustatory responsiveness and memory retention for hive bees of different age classes.

Conclusions: This work demonstrates the accessibility of chemosensory information in the honeybee colonies with respect to incoming nectar. The modulation of the sensory-response systems within the hive can have important effects on the dynamics of food transfer and information propagation.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Gustatory responsiveness of free-flying bees after exposure to scented sucrose solution.GRSs of hive bees belonging to different age groups: 6/9 days old (A), 12/16 days old (B) and foragers (C) were measured. Bees were captured either while being offered an unscented sucrose solution (15% w/w) (0 hours) or after 8 h and 24 h of foraging from a scented sucrose solution (LIO, 15% w/w). The asterisks indicate statistical differences in a Kruskal-Wallis test and Dunn comparison (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, n.s. not significant; for details see the text). The number of observations is shown in parentheses. Boxes indicate the inter-quartile range, horizontal lines within boxes indicate the medians, whiskers include all points within 1.5 times the inter-quartiles, empty circles indicate outliers.
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pone-0013498-g006: Gustatory responsiveness of free-flying bees after exposure to scented sucrose solution.GRSs of hive bees belonging to different age groups: 6/9 days old (A), 12/16 days old (B) and foragers (C) were measured. Bees were captured either while being offered an unscented sucrose solution (15% w/w) (0 hours) or after 8 h and 24 h of foraging from a scented sucrose solution (LIO, 15% w/w). The asterisks indicate statistical differences in a Kruskal-Wallis test and Dunn comparison (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, n.s. not significant; for details see the text). The number of observations is shown in parentheses. Boxes indicate the inter-quartile range, horizontal lines within boxes indicate the medians, whiskers include all points within 1.5 times the inter-quartiles, empty circles indicate outliers.

Mentions: Within the social context of the hive, the effect of odor cues was investigated in worker bees of different age categories. Nurse age bees and food-receiver age bees (6/9- and 12/16-day-old bees respectively) both showed an increase in their GRSs when tested at intervals over the 24 h-stimulation period (K–W: bees of 6–9-days: H = 6.03, p = 0.0491, N = 106; Fig. 6A and 12–16-days: H = 7.53, p = 0.0232, N = 109; Fig. 6B). In both age classes there was a significant increase in GRS after eight hours of stimulation (Dunn comparison: p<0.05, for both age classes; Fig. 6A and 6B), and this level of response was maintained 24 hours after LIO-scented sucrose solution was introduced (Dunn comparison: p<0.05 for 6–9-days; Fig. 6A and p<0.01 for 12–16-days; Fig. 6B). However, foraging bees showed consistent GRSs throughout the test period (K–W: H = 1.105, p = 0.5756, N = 89; Fig. 6C).


The influence of gustatory and olfactory experiences on responsiveness to reward in the honeybee.

Ramírez GP, Martínez AS, Fernández VM, Corti Bielsa G, Farina WM - PLoS ONE (2010)

Gustatory responsiveness of free-flying bees after exposure to scented sucrose solution.GRSs of hive bees belonging to different age groups: 6/9 days old (A), 12/16 days old (B) and foragers (C) were measured. Bees were captured either while being offered an unscented sucrose solution (15% w/w) (0 hours) or after 8 h and 24 h of foraging from a scented sucrose solution (LIO, 15% w/w). The asterisks indicate statistical differences in a Kruskal-Wallis test and Dunn comparison (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, n.s. not significant; for details see the text). The number of observations is shown in parentheses. Boxes indicate the inter-quartile range, horizontal lines within boxes indicate the medians, whiskers include all points within 1.5 times the inter-quartiles, empty circles indicate outliers.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2958144&req=5

pone-0013498-g006: Gustatory responsiveness of free-flying bees after exposure to scented sucrose solution.GRSs of hive bees belonging to different age groups: 6/9 days old (A), 12/16 days old (B) and foragers (C) were measured. Bees were captured either while being offered an unscented sucrose solution (15% w/w) (0 hours) or after 8 h and 24 h of foraging from a scented sucrose solution (LIO, 15% w/w). The asterisks indicate statistical differences in a Kruskal-Wallis test and Dunn comparison (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, n.s. not significant; for details see the text). The number of observations is shown in parentheses. Boxes indicate the inter-quartile range, horizontal lines within boxes indicate the medians, whiskers include all points within 1.5 times the inter-quartiles, empty circles indicate outliers.
Mentions: Within the social context of the hive, the effect of odor cues was investigated in worker bees of different age categories. Nurse age bees and food-receiver age bees (6/9- and 12/16-day-old bees respectively) both showed an increase in their GRSs when tested at intervals over the 24 h-stimulation period (K–W: bees of 6–9-days: H = 6.03, p = 0.0491, N = 106; Fig. 6A and 12–16-days: H = 7.53, p = 0.0232, N = 109; Fig. 6B). In both age classes there was a significant increase in GRS after eight hours of stimulation (Dunn comparison: p<0.05, for both age classes; Fig. 6A and 6B), and this level of response was maintained 24 hours after LIO-scented sucrose solution was introduced (Dunn comparison: p<0.05 for 6–9-days; Fig. 6A and p<0.01 for 12–16-days; Fig. 6B). However, foraging bees showed consistent GRSs throughout the test period (K–W: H = 1.105, p = 0.5756, N = 89; Fig. 6C).

Bottom Line: This adjustment is generally associated with the fact that individuals of different ages display different response thresholds to given stimuli, which determine specific behaviors.In contrast no differences in worker responses were observed when presented with odor only in the rearing environment.This work demonstrates the accessibility of chemosensory information in the honeybee colonies with respect to incoming nectar.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Grupo de Estudio de Insectos Sociales, Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ABSTRACT

Background: Honeybees (Apis mellifera) exhibit an extraordinarily tuned division of labor that depends on age polyethism. This adjustment is generally associated with the fact that individuals of different ages display different response thresholds to given stimuli, which determine specific behaviors. For instance, the sucrose-response threshold (SRT) which largely depends on genetic factors may also be affected by the nectar sugar content. However, it remains unknown whether SRTs in workers of different ages and tasks can differ depending on gustatory and olfactory experiences.

Methodology: Groups of worker bees reared either in an artificial environment or else in a queen-right colony, were exposed to different reward conditions at different adult ages. Gustatory response scores (GRSs) and odor-memory retrieval were measured in bees that were previously exposed to changes in food characteristics.

Principal findings: Results show that the gustatory responses of pre-foraging-aged bees are affected by changes in sucrose solution concentration and also to the presence of an odor provided it is presented as scented sucrose solution. In contrast no differences in worker responses were observed when presented with odor only in the rearing environment. Fast modulation of GRSs was observed in older bees (12-16 days of age) which are commonly involved in food processing tasks within the hive, while slower modulation times were observed in younger bees (commonly nurse bees, 6-9 days of age). This suggests that older food-processing bees have a higher plasticity when responding to fluctuations in resource information than younger hive bees. Adjustments in the number of trophallaxis events were also found when scented food circulated inside the nest, and this was positively correlated with the differences in timing observed in gustatory responsiveness and memory retention for hive bees of different age classes.

Conclusions: This work demonstrates the accessibility of chemosensory information in the honeybee colonies with respect to incoming nectar. The modulation of the sensory-response systems within the hive can have important effects on the dynamics of food transfer and information propagation.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus