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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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Age of forager honey bees and visual conditioning performance were negatively correlated.A. A negative relationship was found between age of foragers tested in this study and the number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials prior to sucrose presentation (Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). B. A positive relationship was found between age and the minimum number of trials required to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).
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pone-0037666-g004: Age of forager honey bees and visual conditioning performance were negatively correlated.A. A negative relationship was found between age of foragers tested in this study and the number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials prior to sucrose presentation (Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). B. A positive relationship was found between age and the minimum number of trials required to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).

Mentions: Honey bee foragers of known age were collected from a typical colony and differentially conditioned. A negative relationship between age and performance was found: younger foragers had a greater number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials (Before+) than older foragers (Fig 4A; Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). Conversely, a positive relationship was found when measuring the minimum number of trials to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Fig 4B; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).


Visual associative learning in restrained honey bees with intact antennae.

Dobrin SE, Fahrbach SE - PLoS ONE (2012)

Age of forager honey bees and visual conditioning performance were negatively correlated.A. A negative relationship was found between age of foragers tested in this study and the number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials prior to sucrose presentation (Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). B. A positive relationship was found between age and the minimum number of trials required to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3368934&req=5

pone-0037666-g004: Age of forager honey bees and visual conditioning performance were negatively correlated.A. A negative relationship was found between age of foragers tested in this study and the number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials prior to sucrose presentation (Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). B. A positive relationship was found between age and the minimum number of trials required to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).
Mentions: Honey bee foragers of known age were collected from a typical colony and differentially conditioned. A negative relationship between age and performance was found: younger foragers had a greater number of cumulative responses on the rewarded trials (Before+) than older foragers (Fig 4A; Pearson’s correlation, r = −0.684, n = 9, p = 0.042). Conversely, a positive relationship was found when measuring the minimum number of trials to reach the threshold of learning (3 cumulative responses; Fig 4B; Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.719, n = 9, p = 0.029).

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