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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2005 Dec;191(12):1121-9. Epub 2005 Jul 28.

The effects of rearing temperature on developmental stability and learning and memory in the honey bee, Apis mellifera.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Macleay Building A12, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Honey bee workers maintain the brood nest of their colony within a narrow temperature range of 34.5+/-1.5 degrees C, implying that there are significant fitness costs if brood is reared outside the normal range. However, the effects of abnormal incubation temperatures are subtle and not well documented. Here we show that short-term learning and memory abilities of adult workers are affected by the temperature they experienced during pupal development. In contrast, long-term learning and memory is not significantly affected by rearing temperature. Furthermore, we could detect no effects of incubation temperature on fluctuating asymmetry, as a measure of developmental stability, in workers, queens or drones. We conclude that the most important consequence of abnormal rearing temperatures are subtle neural deficiencies affecting short-term memory rather than physical abnormalities.

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