Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Common mechanisms in proboscis extension conditioning and visual learning revealed by genetic selection in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis)

  • 70 Accesses

  • 14 Citations

Summary

Four strains of the honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis), which were selected for high (N=2) or low (N=2) performance levels in classic conditioning of olfactory and mechanosensory stimuli, were examined in two instrumental visual learning tasks. Bees were trained to coloured cardboards either at the hive entrance or at the feeding station. Positive correlations were detected between olfactory/mechanosensory conditioning and visual learning. Good and poor learners from strains selected for olfactory conditioning differed significantly in their visual learning values. These strain differences reflect genetic differences in a common learning system rather than task specific differences in sensory, motor or motivational components. Parameters that were influenced by activity of the colony (duration of stay at the feeding place, time between visits) also differed among selected strains. These effects were not due to selection. Instead, they reflect a specific genetic background produced in each strain independently of selection. The results indicate that associative learning has a genetic basis which is independent of the sensory stimuli associated with reward, the learning procedure (classical conditioning or instrumental learning) or the motor patterns used to execute the learned behavior (proboscis extension, control for flight behavior, open field orientation).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Abbreviations

US :

unconditioned stimulus

CS :

conditioned stimulus

PER :

proboscis extension reflex

UR :

unconditioned response

CR :

conditioned response

References

  1. Andersen RH (1963) The laying worker in the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis. J Apic Res 2:85–92

  2. Bitterman ME, Menzel R, Fietz A, Schäfer S (1983) Classical conditioning of proboscis extension in honeybees (Apis mellifera). J Comp Psychol 97:107–119

  3. Brandes Ch (1988) Estimation of heritability of learning behavior in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis). Behav Genet 18:119–132

  4. Brandes Ch (in press) Genetic differences in learning behavior in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis). Behav Genet

  5. Brandes Ch, Frisch B, Menzel R (1988) Time course of memory formation differs in honeybee lines selected for good and bad learning. Anim Behav 36:981–985

  6. Duerr JS, Quinn WG (1982) Three Drosophila mutants which block associative learning also affect habituation and sensitization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79:3646–3650

  7. Dudai Y (1988) Neurogenetic dissection of learning and short-term memory in Drosophila. Annu Rev Neurosci 11:537–563

  8. Erber J, Masuhr Th, Menzel R (1980) Localization of short term memory in the brain of the bee, Apis mellifera. Physiol Entomol 5:343–358

  9. Gailey DA, Jackson FR, Siegel RW (1984) Conditioning mutations in Drosophila melanogaster affect an experience dependent behavioral modification in courting males. Genetics 106:613–623

  10. Kuwabara M (1957) Bildung des bedingten Reflexes von Pavlovs Typus bei der Honigbiene Apis mellifica. Hokkaido Univ Zool J Fac Sci 13:458–464

  11. Lauer J, Lindauer M (1971) Genetisch fixierte Lerndispositionen bei der Honigbiene. Abh Akad Wissensch Lit Mainz Inf Org 1:1–87

  12. Lauer JR, Lindauer M (1985) Lernprozesse im Orientierungsablauf der Honigbiene. Ein rassenspezifischer Vergleich von Apis mellifica carnica und Apis mellifica ligustica. Abh Akad Wissensch Lit Mainz Inf Org 2:1–88

  13. Menzel R (1967) Untersuchungen zum Erlernen von Spektralfarben durch die Honigbiene (Apis mellifica). Z Vergl Physiol 56:22–62

  14. Menzel R (1969) Das Gedächtnis der Honigbiene für Spektralfarben. II. Umlernen und Mehrfachlernen. Z Vergl Physiol 56:329–334

  15. Menzel R, Bitterman ME (1983) Learning by honeybees in an unnatural situation. In: Huber F, Markl H (eds) Neuroethology and behavioural physiology. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 206–215

  16. Menzel R, Erber J, Masuhr Th (1974) Learning and memory in the honeybee. In: Barton-Brown L (ed) Experimental analysis of insect behavior. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 206–215

  17. Menzel R, Freudel H, Ruehl U (1973) Rassenspezifische Unterschiede im Lern verhalten der Honigbiene (Apis mell L). Apidologie 4:1–24

  18. Menzel R, Hammer M, Sugawa M (1989) Non-associative components of conditioning in honey bees. In: Erber J, Menzel R, Pflüger MJ, Todt D (eds) Neural mechanismus of behavior. G. Thieme, Stuttgart New York, pp 221

  19. Moritz RFA, Brandes Ch (1987) In: Menzel R, Mercer E (eds) Behavior genetics in honeybees. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 21–35

  20. Rose R, Menzel R (1981) Luminance dependence of pigment color discrimination in bees. J Comp Physiol 141:379–388

  21. Rothenbuhler WC (1967) Genetic and evolutionary considerations of social behavior of honeybees and some related insects. In: Hirsch J (ed) Behavior-genetic analysis. Mc Graw Hill, New York, pp 61–106

  22. Ruttner F (1977) The problem of the Cape bee (Apis mellifera capensis Escholtz): parthenogenesis — size of populations — evolution. Apidologie 8:281–294

  23. Sachs L (1984) Angewandte Statistik. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  24. Seeley ThD (1985) Honeybee ecology. A study of adaptation in social life. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey

  25. Temple BL, Bonini N, Dawson DR, Quinn WG (1983) Reward learning in normal and mutant Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 80:1482–1486

  26. Tully T (1987) Drosophila learning and memory revisited. Trends Neurosci 10:330–335

  27. Tully T, Quinn WG (1985) Classical conditioning and retention in normal and mutant Drosophila melanogaster. J Comp Physiol 157:263–277

  28. Winston M (1987) The biology of the honey bee. Harvard University Press; Cambridge, Massachusetts

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ch. Brandes or R. Menzel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brandes, C., Menzel, R. Common mechanisms in proboscis extension conditioning and visual learning revealed by genetic selection in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis). J Comp Physiol A 166, 545–552 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00192025

Download citation

Key words

  • Honeybees
  • Learning
  • Classical conditioning
  • Selection
  • Genetics