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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2012 Oct;198(10):777-86. Epub 2012 Aug 25.

Comparison of learning and memory of Apis cerana and Apis mellifera.

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Honeybee Research Institute, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, People's Republic of China.


The honeybee is an excellent model organism for research on learning and memory among invertebrates. Learning and memory in honeybees has intrigued neuroscientists and entomologists in the last few decades, but attention has focused almost solely on the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera. In contrast, there have been few studies on learning and memory in the Eastern honeybee, Apis cerana. Here we report comparative behavioral data of color and grating learning and memory for A. cerana and A. mellifera in China, gathered using a Y-maze apparatus. We show for the first time that the learning and memory performance of A. cerana is significantly better on both color and grating patterns than that of A. mellifera. This study provides the first evidence of a learning and memory difference between A. cerana and A. mellifera under controlled conditions, and it is an important basis for the further study of the mechanism of learning and memory in honeybees.

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