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Behav Brain Res. 2001 Apr 8;120(1):67-73.

Responsiveness to sucrose affects tactile and olfactory learning in preforaging honey bees of two genetic strains.

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


Using sucrose solution as reward, we conditioned preforaging honey bees of two genetic strains to tactile stimuli or to odours. Acquisition, extinction of conditioned responses and discrimination between the conditioned stimuli and alternative tactile or olfactory stimuli were measured. Bees of the two genetic strains were selected for their foraging behaviour. In addition, they differ in their responsiveness to sucrose. To analyse the effects of sucrose perception on learning parameters independent of foraging behaviour, we conditioned preforaging bees of the two strains and compared their performance in tactile and olfactory learning paradigms. In both strains, acquisition in tactile and olfactory conditioning is determined by responsiveness to sucrose. There is no genetic effect on the relationship between responsiveness to sucrose and acquisition. Bees responding to low sucrose concentrations perform better than ones that only respond to higher concentrations. Extinction of conditioned responses correlates with acquisition. Responses to alternative stimuli are independent of responsiveness to sucrose.

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