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Biol Open. 2014 Jun 6;3(7):575-82. doi: 10.1242/bio.20148458.

'Peer pressure' in larval Drosophila?

Author information

1
Leibniz Institut für Neurobiologie (LIN), Abteilung Genetik von Lernen und Gedächtnis, Brenneckestrasse 6, 39118 Magdeburg, Germany.
2
Universität Leipzig, Institut für Biologie, Genetik, Talstrasse 33, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
3
Leibniz Institut für Neurobiologie (LIN), Abteilung Genetik von Lernen und Gedächtnis, Brenneckestrasse 6, 39118 Magdeburg, Germany Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg, Institut für Biologie, Verhaltensgenetik, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany Center of Behavioural Brain Science (CBBS), Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany bertram.gerber@lin-magdeburg.de.

Abstract

Understanding social behaviour requires a study case that is simple enough to be tractable, yet complex enough to remain interesting. Do larval Drosophila meet these requirements? In a broad sense, this question can refer to effects of the mere presence of other larvae on the behaviour of a target individual. Here we focused in a more strict sense on 'peer pressure', that is on the question of whether the behaviour of a target individual larva is affected by what a surrounding group of larvae is doing. We found that innate olfactory preference of a target individual was neither affected (i) by the level of innate olfactory preference in the surrounding group nor (ii) by the expression of learned olfactory preference in the group. Likewise, learned olfactory preference of a target individual was neither affected (iii) by the level of innate olfactory preference of the surrounding group nor (iv) by the learned olfactory preference the group was expressing. We conclude that larval Drosophila thus do not take note of specifically what surrounding larvae are doing. This implies that in a strict sense, and to the extent tested, there is no social interaction between larvae. These results validate widely used en mass approaches to the behaviour of larval Drosophila.

KEYWORDS:

Behaviour; Learning; Memory; Olfaction; Social interaction

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