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Visual associative learning in restrained honey bees with intact antennae.

Dobrin SE, Fahrbach SE - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Here we report, for a simple visual learning task, the first successful performance by restrained honey bees with intact antennae.A negative correlation was found between age of foragers and their performance in the visual PER task.Using the adaptations to the traditional PER task outlined here, future studies can exploit pharmacological and physiological techniques to explore the neural circuit basis of visual learning in the honey bee.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America. dobrinse@wfu.edu

ABSTRACT
A restrained honey bee can be trained to extend its proboscis in response to the pairing of an odor with a sucrose reward, a form of olfactory associative learning referred to as the proboscis extension response (PER). Although the ability of flying honey bees to respond to visual cues is well-established, associative visual learning in restrained honey bees has been challenging to demonstrate. Those few groups that have documented vision-based PER have reported that removing the antennae prior to training is a prerequisite for learning. Here we report, for a simple visual learning task, the first successful performance by restrained honey bees with intact antennae. Honey bee foragers were trained on a differential visual association task by pairing the presentation of a blue light with a sucrose reward and leaving the presentation of a green light unrewarded. A negative correlation was found between age of foragers and their performance in the visual PER task. Using the adaptations to the traditional PER task outlined here, future studies can exploit pharmacological and physiological techniques to explore the neural circuit basis of visual learning in the honey bee.

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Forager honey bees conditioned with a wet toothpick as the US–show reduced learning. The percentage of honey bees in each group that reached the learning threshold is depicted here. The Fisher exact probability test was used to compare the number of responders in each category (dry: 9/15; water: 4/19; : 6/9). Letters indicate significant differences (α<0.05). Groups designated with the same letter did not differ.
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pone-0037666-g003: Forager honey bees conditioned with a wet toothpick as the US–show reduced learning. The percentage of honey bees in each group that reached the learning threshold is depicted here. The Fisher exact probability test was used to compare the number of responders in each category (dry: 9/15; water: 4/19; : 6/9). Letters indicate significant differences (α<0.05). Groups designated with the same letter did not differ.

Mentions: Honey bee foragers were trained on a differential visual association. A blue light (CS+) was paired with a sucrose reward and a green light (CS–) was paired with no stimulus () or touching a dry (dry) or a water-soaked (water) toothpick to the honey bee’s antennae. Overall, foragers responded significantly more frequently on rewarded trials than non-rewarded trials (Fig 2A; χ2 (1, N = 45) = 7.5, p = 003; Fig 2B; Mann-Whitney U = 652.5, p = 0.001). The greatest effect is seen by examining those honey bees that responded in 3 or more trials (“learners”; Fig 2C; χ2 (1, N = 19) = 8.5, p = 002; Fig 2D; Mann-Whitney U = 44.5, p<0.0001). When analyzed separately, both the learners from the and dry groups responded differently to the rewarded and unrewarded trials, but no difference in responding to the rewarded and unrewarded trials was found in the water group (Fig S2; dry: Mann-Whitney U = 0.0, p = 0.0003; : Mann-Whitney U = 1.0, p<0.018). A significantly lower proportion of honey bees in the water group were classified as learners than those in the dry or groups (Fig 3; two-tailed Fisher exact probability tests, p<0.05; see Figs S2, S3, S4 for further comparison of US groups). No difference was found between the groups of non-learners in their responses to the sucrose presentation on the rewarded trials (see Data S1 for discussion of non-learners), suggesting they all found the sucrose rewarding and remained capable of extending their proboscis throughout the training period. The distribution of the ages of foragers which were categorized as learners and non-learners did not differ (Mann-Whitney U = 92.00, p = 0.817).


Visual associative learning in restrained honey bees with intact antennae.

Dobrin SE, Fahrbach SE - PLoS ONE (2012)

Forager honey bees conditioned with a wet toothpick as the US–show reduced learning. The percentage of honey bees in each group that reached the learning threshold is depicted here. The Fisher exact probability test was used to compare the number of responders in each category (dry: 9/15; water: 4/19; : 6/9). Letters indicate significant differences (α<0.05). Groups designated with the same letter did not differ.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3368934&req=5

pone-0037666-g003: Forager honey bees conditioned with a wet toothpick as the US–show reduced learning. The percentage of honey bees in each group that reached the learning threshold is depicted here. The Fisher exact probability test was used to compare the number of responders in each category (dry: 9/15; water: 4/19; : 6/9). Letters indicate significant differences (α<0.05). Groups designated with the same letter did not differ.
Mentions: Honey bee foragers were trained on a differential visual association. A blue light (CS+) was paired with a sucrose reward and a green light (CS–) was paired with no stimulus () or touching a dry (dry) or a water-soaked (water) toothpick to the honey bee’s antennae. Overall, foragers responded significantly more frequently on rewarded trials than non-rewarded trials (Fig 2A; χ2 (1, N = 45) = 7.5, p = 003; Fig 2B; Mann-Whitney U = 652.5, p = 0.001). The greatest effect is seen by examining those honey bees that responded in 3 or more trials (“learners”; Fig 2C; χ2 (1, N = 19) = 8.5, p = 002; Fig 2D; Mann-Whitney U = 44.5, p<0.0001). When analyzed separately, both the learners from the and dry groups responded differently to the rewarded and unrewarded trials, but no difference in responding to the rewarded and unrewarded trials was found in the water group (Fig S2; dry: Mann-Whitney U = 0.0, p = 0.0003; : Mann-Whitney U = 1.0, p<0.018). A significantly lower proportion of honey bees in the water group were classified as learners than those in the dry or groups (Fig 3; two-tailed Fisher exact probability tests, p<0.05; see Figs S2, S3, S4 for further comparison of US groups). No difference was found between the groups of non-learners in their responses to the sucrose presentation on the rewarded trials (see Data S1 for discussion of non-learners), suggesting they all found the sucrose rewarding and remained capable of extending their proboscis throughout the training period. The distribution of the ages of foragers which were categorized as learners and non-learners did not differ (Mann-Whitney U = 92.00, p = 0.817).

Bottom Line: Here we report, for a simple visual learning task, the first successful performance by restrained honey bees with intact antennae.A negative correlation was found between age of foragers and their performance in the visual PER task.Using the adaptations to the traditional PER task outlined here, future studies can exploit pharmacological and physiological techniques to explore the neural circuit basis of visual learning in the honey bee.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America. dobrinse@wfu.edu

ABSTRACT
A restrained honey bee can be trained to extend its proboscis in response to the pairing of an odor with a sucrose reward, a form of olfactory associative learning referred to as the proboscis extension response (PER). Although the ability of flying honey bees to respond to visual cues is well-established, associative visual learning in restrained honey bees has been challenging to demonstrate. Those few groups that have documented vision-based PER have reported that removing the antennae prior to training is a prerequisite for learning. Here we report, for a simple visual learning task, the first successful performance by restrained honey bees with intact antennae. Honey bee foragers were trained on a differential visual association task by pairing the presentation of a blue light with a sucrose reward and leaving the presentation of a green light unrewarded. A negative correlation was found between age of foragers and their performance in the visual PER task. Using the adaptations to the traditional PER task outlined here, future studies can exploit pharmacological and physiological techniques to explore the neural circuit basis of visual learning in the honey bee.

Show MeSH