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Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.


Learning to negotiate mazes by following marks. (A) The experimental setups, indicating the correct path through the maze. (B) Experimental results. Performance was scored by assigning each flight into one of four categories as in Figure 3. Modified from Zhang et al. (1996). Details in text.
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Figure 4: Learning to negotiate mazes by following marks. (A) The experimental setups, indicating the correct path through the maze. (B) Experimental results. Performance was scored by assigning each flight into one of four categories as in Figure 3. Modified from Zhang et al. (1996). Details in text.

Mentions: Another series of experiments examined whether bees could learn to negotiate mazes by using a symbolic cue (Zhang et al., 1996). Left and right turns were signaled according to a color placed on the back wall of each box where a turn had to be made (Figure 4A, left panel). Bees were trained and tested for learning performance in a specific path (Figure 4A, left-hand panel, Path 3). The training and testing procedures were similar to those described above. The results showed that bees learned this task very well too (Test 3, Figure 4B). In fact, their performance in this maze was just as impressive as in the mark-following maze. Here again, bees trained to use the symbolic cue on a particular route were immediately able to use the cue to trace novel paths (Figure 4A, middle and right-hand panels) though the maze (Test 4 and 5, Figure 4B). The performance in all tests (Test 3, Test 4, and Test 5) was significantly better than in the control (Figure 4B).


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Learning to negotiate mazes by following marks. (A) The experimental setups, indicating the correct path through the maze. (B) Experimental results. Performance was scored by assigning each flight into one of four categories as in Figure 3. Modified from Zhang et al. (1996). Details in text.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3376410&req=5

Figure 4: Learning to negotiate mazes by following marks. (A) The experimental setups, indicating the correct path through the maze. (B) Experimental results. Performance was scored by assigning each flight into one of four categories as in Figure 3. Modified from Zhang et al. (1996). Details in text.
Mentions: Another series of experiments examined whether bees could learn to negotiate mazes by using a symbolic cue (Zhang et al., 1996). Left and right turns were signaled according to a color placed on the back wall of each box where a turn had to be made (Figure 4A, left panel). Bees were trained and tested for learning performance in a specific path (Figure 4A, left-hand panel, Path 3). The training and testing procedures were similar to those described above. The results showed that bees learned this task very well too (Test 3, Figure 4B). In fact, their performance in this maze was just as impressive as in the mark-following maze. Here again, bees trained to use the symbolic cue on a particular route were immediately able to use the cue to trace novel paths (Figure 4A, middle and right-hand panels) though the maze (Test 4 and 5, Figure 4B). The performance in all tests (Test 3, Test 4, and Test 5) was significantly better than in the control (Figure 4B).

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.