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Behav Brain Res. 2002 Nov 15;136(2):545-53.

Behavioural pharmacology of octopamine, tyramine and dopamine in honey bees.

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  • 1Institut für Okologie und Biologie, Technische Universität Berlin, FR 1-1, Franklinstr 28/29, D-10587 Berlin, Germany.


In the honey bee, responsiveness to sucrose correlates with many behavioural parameters such as age of first foraging, foraging role and learning. Sucrose responsiveness can be measured using the proboscis extension response (PER) by applying sucrose solutions of increasing concentrations to the antenna of a bee. We tested whether the biogenic amines octopamine, tyramine and dopamine, and the dopamine receptor agonist 2-amino-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene (6,7-ADTN) can modulate sucrose responsiveness. The compounds were either injected into the thorax or fed in sucrose solution to compare different methods of application. Injection and feeding of tyramine or octopamine significantly increased sucrose responsiveness. Dopamine decreased sucrose responsiveness when injected into the thorax. Feeding of dopamine had no effect. Injection of 6,7-ADTN into the thorax and feeding of 6,7-ADTN reduced sucrose responsiveness significantly. These data demonstrate that sucrose responsiveness in honey bees can be modulated by biogenic amines, which has far reaching consequences for other types of behaviour in this insect.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.

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