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Time course of color induction in the honeybee

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Color induction in the honeybee is investigated in color discrimination experiments. An individual bee walks in a dark arena and is trained to a self-luminant stimulus presented from below. In the dual-choice tests the dark background is replaced by a colored induction stimulus. Choice behavior is recorded by TV camera and analyzed by computer. Successive color induction is separated from simultaneous induction by analysis of the walking paths. Only successive color induction occurs. Simultaneous effects are not observed. That is a stimulus acts as a color inducing stimulus only when the bee crosses this stimulus. Thus, the color perceived by a given eye region is found to be dependent on the viewing history, but not on the stimuli presented simultaneously on neighboring parts of the retina. Color induction in the honeybee described in terms of selective sensitivity decrease (adaptation) does not explain all behavioral effects induced by the stimulus. The time course of successive color induction is calculated from the exposure times to the induction stimulus and from the choice behavior. The data suggest that color induction is complete after a few seconds. Photoreceptor adaptation is sufficient to explain the observed time course.

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Dittrich, M. Time course of color induction in the honeybee. J Comp Physiol A 177, 207–217 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00225100

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Key words

  • Honeybee
  • Color vision
  • Behavior
  • Adaptation
  • Color induction